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NEU Conference ’19 Teachers forking out hundreds from their own salaries to buy basic school supplies

TEACHERS are forking out hundreds of pounds from their own small salaries to buy basic stationary for their cripplingly underfunded schools.

Speaking at the National Education Union’s (NEU) annual conference in Liverpool today, Wandsworth delegate Jenny Jones presented a £735 shopping list of items needed for her school.

It included more than 120 glue sticks, 100 erasers and wooden sticks for a re-enactment of the Great Fire of London.

She also needed to buy a heater for the classroom while she marked pupils’ work after school when the heating had been turned off.

Teachers and parents are increasingly plugging the school funding gap with their own money, conference heard.

Durham delegate Emma Parker said the spending involved daily essential equipment such as pens and paper.

Delegates agreed to publicise all their purchases as part of a wider campaign against massive government cuts to school funding.

NEU executive member Alex Kenny said: “School funding and the cuts we’re having to endure isn’t going to go away.

“You know the effects, these cuts are real. We’ve ended up in the grotesque situation where teachers are taking pay cuts to save jobs.”

Conference called on the union to prioritise its campaign to increase school funding and seek to unite all education unions in a joint fight for more funds.

The Department for Education (DfE) consistently claims that more money is being spent on education than ever before.

Camden delegate Eric Bateson said: “The Tory government has told us that there is more money than ever in our schools. We know that this is a lie.”

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney highlighted official government figures on the School Cuts website that show £2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets since 2015.

“Head teachers need money not for ‘little extras’ but for absolute basics,” he said.

“Lack of funds have resulted in increased class sizes, reduced staffing numbers and subjects to be dropped from the curriculum.

“Teachers and headteachers are paying out for books, pens, and glue sticks, and even cleaning the school buildings themselves.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that schools are having to scrabble around to make ends meet in this way.”

Earlier this month the Star revealed exclusively that one cash-strapped school in Yorkshire is forced to teach with the lights off once a week to save on electricity bills.

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