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Pupils negatively affected by school budget reductions, according to London Councils' research

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

Headteachers and senior school leaders across the country fear that squeezed budgets will negatively affect their pupils, a survey of more than 500 headteachers has revealed. 

Two thirds of headteachers and school senior leaders in England who responded to the survey believe that funding reductions resulting from the new National Funding Formula for schools and wider cost pressures will damage students’ future prospects. 

London Councils’ research, conducted by TES, The Education Company and Shift Learning, showed that headteachers in London and the rest of England share similar concerns about this issue. 71 per cent of headteachers in London and 66 per cent of headteachers in the rest of England who responded to the survey agreed or strongly agreed that pupil outcomes would be negatively affected by changes to their budgets.

68 per cent of headteachers surveyed who lead outstanding schools across the country also agreed or strongly agreed with this view.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for education, said:

“Ensuring all children have access to a good quality education that equips them for the future is vitally important. If the majority of headteachers and senior school leaders across the country are saying that funding reductions will have a negative impact on pupils, we need to listen to them. 

“In London, 70 per cent of schools will lose funding when the new National Funding Formula is introduced. This will mean fewer teachers and teaching assistants, effectively denying thousands of children the education they deserve. 

“Some of the most deprived schools in London will be hit the hardest as a result of the new funding formula. Taking funding away from schools, particularly those already facing considerable disadvantage, will make it harder for them to ensure they have the tools to provide their pupils with a high quality education. 

“We are responding to the Government’s consultation on the new formula, echoing the concerns of headteachers, parents, MPs and council leaders and making the case for investing an additional £335 million in schools across the country. This would ensure no school loses funding when the new national funding formula is introduced.”

London Councils has submitted a formal consultation response to Government on the new National Funding Formula for schools. As well as calling for Government to cushion all schools from budget reductions resulting from the new formula, it details a number of further concerns London Councils has with the formula. 

The response also supports several aspects of the proposed reforms, such as the 3 per cent cap on overall reductions to individual schools and the improved recognition of deprivation and pupil mobility in the formula.

For more information on London’s education system and the impact of the National Funding Formula and wider cost pressures on the capital’s schools, please visit www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/schoolsfunding.

ENDS

An Enfield headteacher said:

“There is an enormous amount of money short in the system. I’m not saying we can’t and won’t balance budgets, we will, but it will certainly have a detrimental effect on children and their progress, and I think unfortunately it’s likely to have a bigger impact on the most disadvantaged. Social gaps are going to open further as a result of the funding shortfalls, and I think that would be such a shame given the progress that’s been made.”

A Tower Hamlets headteacher said:

“I think it’s going to cause a huge divide between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children. London is just beginning to close the gap. I know I’ve closed it in my school, but I think it’ll start opening again because I will have to take away all these things that have been supporting disadvantaged children.”

A central London headteacher said:

“We’re outstanding. Our results are good and we’re in a good local authority. We have good relationships with the community. But we’re really, really going to be hit by the funding cuts. The education that I can offer to the students is going to start to be hit by these cuts and the results of our young people are going to be affected.”

Notes to editors:

  • London Councils’ response to the second stage of the National Funding Formula for schools consultation is available to download here. London Councils has also submitted a response to the second stage of the high needs funding formula consultation, which is available to download here.
  • London Councils’ survey of headteachers and school senior leaders, conducted by TES, The Education Company and Shift Learning, will be published in full later this year. 
  • There were 573 responses to the question in the survey referred to in this press release. Headteachers and school senior leaders were asked for their views on the following statement: “The future – I expect outcomes for my pupils to be negatively affected by changes to my budget”. The number of respondents who chose to “strongly agree” and “agree” with that statement were combined to provide the percentages used in the press release. The sentence “More than two thirds of headteachers in England who responded to the survey believe that funding reductions resulting from the new National Funding Formula for schools and wider cost pressures will damage students’ future prospects” refers to the fact that 69 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement referenced above.
  • According to a report published by the Education Policy Institute, disadvantaged schools in the capital face higher reductions in funding than any other group: the most disadvantaged primary schools in London lose 1.5 per cent, whilst the most disadvantaged secondary schools in the capital lose 2.1 per cent. Click here to read the report in full.