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Anger as schools funding stays low

by Conrad Landin

PHILIP HAMMOND has ignored the anger of thousands of parents and teachers who gave the government a bloody nose in this year’s election, education unions have warned.

The National Education Union said schools would need £2 billion a year of extra funding to restore real-terms per pupil funding to 2015-16 levels.

But in his Budget yesterday, Chancellor Mr Hammond side-stepped the funding shortage and announced a series of piecemeal changes for schools instead.

These include a number of measures to encourage kids to take exams in maths and computing, reportedly worth around £250 million.

Mr Hammond also announced new funds to pay for training schemes, but NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney accused him of a “sticking-plaster” approach.

“The Budget, with no significant new money for education, shows that the government has chosen to ignore the anger of parents and the clear evidence of the problems being created by real-terms cuts to education,” Mr Courtney said. “Parents and teachers will be deeply disappointed.

“Despite the worsening teacher recruitment and retention crisis and the huge real-terms cuts in teacher pay since 2010, the Chancellor had nothing to offer teachers or the profession. Instead of school staff losing jobs or seeing the value of their pay cut, the government needs to invest in those working in education.”

Fellow teaching union NASUWT leader Chris Keates said: “The very modest additional funding for teacher training is welcome, but it fails to address the reality of acute teacher shortages across the majority of curriculum subjects.

“In this Budget the Chancellor has failed to grasp the nettle and come up with the solutions needed to address the systemic problems affecting the education sector.”

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