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Education unions welcome Labour's manifesto pledge to fully fund schools

by LAMIAT SABIN in Birmingham

EDUCATION unions said they were “delighted” by proposals outlined in today’s Labour manifesto launch that “seriously” recognise the need to reverse cuts to school budgets.

The party plans to increase spending by £10.5 billion in England’s schools by 2022/23.

The National Education Union (NEU), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which together form the School Cuts Coalition, said they had long called for the proposals.

According to analysis of government data on the School Cuts website, 83 per cent of schools in 2020 will still have lower per-pupil funding in real terms than they did in 2015.

Ahead of last summer’s spending review, the unions called on the Department for Education (DfE) to back their call for a ten-year-plan for school and college funding.

However, they said the ‘additional’ funds the government had pledged since then were “not sufficient to reverse all the cuts to schools and colleges or to properly address historic underfunding.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reaffirmed that the party in government would reverse all cuts to education funding.

Mr Corbyn, speaking at Birmingham City University, likened the Tories’ schools “funding formula” to something from “George Orwell’s 1984,” taking money from schools rather than, as the name suggested, putting enough money in.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Parents and teachers should be excited by the education-funding pledges made by Labour in its manifesto; this pledge matches the demands of the School Cuts coalition.

“Our analysis confirms that these figures can reverse the cuts, deal with historic underfunding in many areas of the country and deliver the policy ambitions that Labour outlines on class size and on having a qualified teacher in every class and supporting our teachers and teaching assistants better, [as well as funding] huge improvements in early-years and 16-19 provision.

“We don’t tell people who to vote for, but we do ask people to think about education when casting their vote,” Mr Courtney added.
 
ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton said that Labour’s commitment to funding “sets the bar for all political parties.”

Labour’s funding proposals are part of the party’s wider plans for a cradle-to-grave National Education Service.

The School Cuts website is at www.schoolcuts.org.uk.

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