At the event, held at the House of Commons on 1 March, ATL AMiE, the NUT and NAHT told MPs how much money schools in their area may lose by 2020 if the proposed new national funding formula is introduced.
The meeting took place just a week before the government trailed a £320m fund for grammars and free schools in the pre-Budget announcement - a move ATL described as 'totally insufficient' to tackle the £3bn shortfall faced by schools.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and former children’s minister Maria Eagle were among the 25 MPs who attended. Labour MP for Batley and Spen Tracy Brabin said she was “shocked” to discover her schools may lose £9.5million. “Headteachers were telling me that even before this new funding formula they were struggling. Now they are saying they will have to lose staff.
“It feels like we are turning back the clock and returning to the 80s when we had schools where buckets were used to collect water from leaky roofs because there was no money for repairs,” she added.
Shadow minister for foreign affairs and MP for Heywood and Middleton Liz McInnes said she had been contacted by a number of heads who are very concerned about the money they stand to lose under the new funding formula. “My constituency is within the area covered by Rochdale Council where 420 teachers’ jobs are at risk because of cuts,” she said.
ATL policy adviser Anne Heavey, who spoke to MPs at the drop-in session, said: “We urged MPs to speak to heads to find out what they will lose per student and what that will mean in terms of staff redundancies, bigger class sizes, school repairs and so on.”
“We also want heads to contact their local MP to tell them what more cuts will do to their school and their students’ education.”
AMiE director Mark Wright said: “It is encouraging to see such a positive response from MPs who are supporting our call for a rethink on the proposed national funding formula, which otherwise looks set to cripple many schools, including those serving disadvantaged communities most in need of help.
“It’s important that school leaders continue to be vocal in spelling out the dire consequences for our children’s education should the Government press on regardless,” he added.
What you can do
The schoolcuts.org.uk website, set up by NUT and ATL and supported by NAHT, Unison, GMB and Unite, aims to draw attention to the £3bn-a-year real-terms cut in funding that will face schools in England by 2020 unless the government takes action.
You can use it to see how schools in your area are affected, sign a petition to government against the cuts and contact your MP directly to ask them to take action.
We’ve been working with the other unions to campaign against school funding cuts. Our closer working with the NUT, on this and many other issues, has led us to a ballot our members on the formation of a new union together. See our NEU hub for more information.