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TEACHING unions expressed their deep disappointment today after Chancellor Philip Hammond snubbed education in his Spring Statement despite repeated warnings that schools are desperately underfunded.
National Education Union joint general secretary Kevin Courtney questioned why Mr Hammond had claimed that Britain’s economy was improving but failed to urgently allocate more money to schools.
“Parents, teachers, heads, school staff and MPs from across the House will be dismayed that the Chancellor did not address the national school funding crisis,” he said.
“His boast that the economy is in recovery prompts the question of why he cannot address the issue of school funding now.
“Following his ‘little extras’ gaffe last year, it remains the case that the Chancellor is out of touch with the issues schools face on a daily basis.
“There is nothing new for children with Send [special educational needs and disabilities] who are not getting adequate provision, nor for teachers who use their own money to resource lessons or head teachers with difficult decisions to make around the lengths of the school day.
“The Chancellor had an opportunity today to end uncertainty for schools about budget planning. He failed.”
Announcing his Budget last year, Mr Hammond angered teachers by claiming that an extra £400 million in capital funding for English schools could pay for building improvements and “little extras” such as equipment and computing facilities.
Head teachers have continued to issue urgent warnings to the government and parents over the funding crisis, saying that they have had to contribute to the cost of equipment and books and help with cleaning classrooms and serving lunches due to staff shortages.
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