Insufficient school funding will damage the quality of education provided in our schools, a survey commissioned by London Councils has found.
Talking Heads, a survey of nearly 400 London headteachers and senior school leaders, shows that increased costs due to a range of new and increased pressures, such as growing pupil numbers, additional pensions and national insurance contributions and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy are forcing schools to make tough decisions to balance school budgets.
Headteachers were asked about the impact of anticipated funding cuts on the quality of education, and the budgets that they would cut to balance the books.
The research shows that schools have been experiencing a funding crisis for some time. It highlights the importance of ensuring that school budgets are protected in real terms in order that core budgets are not slashed.
How London schools have responded
According to our research London schools have responded to the cuts by taking additional measure to save costs
*Base size: 135 secondary schools, 235 primary school senior leader respondents in London who answered Q4
Funding pressures for schools are not a new phenomenon, with 70 per cent of London schools reporting budget cuts over the last two years
71 per cent of headteachers think that future funding reductions will negatively impact on children’s outcomes
Headteachers are planning cuts across the spectrum, with common strategies being reducing the number of teaching assistants; replacing experienced teachers with those with less experience; and increasing class sizes
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents are planning to reduce the number of teachers in their schools in the coming years
Almost half of headteachers (46 per cent) are expecting budgetary cuts to impact the quality of teaching
Schools have already started to narrow curriculums and this trend is set to continue, with subjects like Languages, PE, ICT and Music being limited or taken off the curriculum
There are particular concerns about impacts of further cuts on outcomes for children with Special Educational Needs, who have already been directly affected by budget cuts in 64 per cent of London schools
What headteachers are saying
A primary headteacher at a local authority-maintained school, inner London said:
"I cannot see any way other than that teaching and learning is going to suffer and we'll have to just absolutely slash the number of adults or shut the school."
Headteacher, primary academy, outer London:
"We're already on a shoestring as it is. Any more cuts, it's going to be staffing, and that's going to have an impact, and it's going to be a negative impact. Our results may well dip as a result of it."
Headteacher, secondary academy, outer London:
“There needs to be significant increase in funding coming into schools, not just the realignment of the pot.”