Funding the Future: investing in our children


Alongside governing boards across the country, NGA is campaigning for the overall size of the schools budget to be increased to ensure that children and young people receive the standard of education they deserve.

Funding the Future – a week of action

25 February - 2 March 2019

School governors and trustees are responsible for the financial oversight of their schools, which includes deciding how the budget is spent – and almost three quarters are telling us that they are unable to manage funding pressures without negatively impacting pupils’ education. In response, NGA is aiming to galvanise and equip governing boards that are concerned or impacted by funding pressures to engage with and lobby their own MP, with the overall objective of securing our nine ‘asks’ of the government in the comprehensive spending review.

We are asking governors and trustees to use their experiences to evidence the need for our asks of the government. We want governors and trustees to provide concrete and specific examples of what pupils are losing out on because of the decisions that governing boards are having to make about funding to support the abstract debate. Over the coming weeks, in the run up to the week of action itself, NGA will also be encouraging and informing governors and trustees about contacting their local and regional press with their story and saying why they are taking part in our campaign.

By taking action now and investing in children and young people, the government can avert a future crisis. 

What the week looks like for NGA and governing boards

Thursday 28 February

NGA day at parliament

Go to parliament to meet with your MP and join NGA activity

Friday 1 March

Invite your MP to visit your school

Visit your MP in their constituency office

Saturday 2 March

Visit your MP in their constituency office

Key asks to governing boards

NGA is asking governors and trustees to participate in the action by:

  • Joining NGA at parliament on 28 February to meet with your MP and support our action
  • Asking your MP to come to your school in a governor/ trustee led visit
  • Writing to your MP
  • Give evidence/specific examples of the impact of funding pressures on their school and pupils that we can use in the media and in our lobbying

To support NGA in evidencing the need for our nine asks in the media and with the government, we are also looking for governing boards that are willing to speak publically about their story; particularly on the role of governance in school finance, the decisions they have had to take and what the impact has been on pupils. If your school/ trust is willing to explore this, please contact

Key asks to the government

NGA has put together nine ‘asks’ for the spending review, based on the latest research and intelligence collected from governors and trustees. These are:

  1. The core revenue budget must be increased by at least £2 billion per year so that the basic rate that schools get for each pupil covers the costs of their education
  2. The high needs budget for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities must be increased by at least £1.5 billion per year
  3. The rate for 16-19 pupils must be increased to at least £4,760 per year
  4. The pupil premium funding must be protected in real terms and included in the national funding formula, with reporting requirements retained
  5. The government must review funding for early years so that all children have access to high quality, teacher-led early education
  6. The national funding formula must be implemented in full as soon as possible, with funding distributed directly to schools
  7. Funding settlements should be for a minimum of three years to enable schools to properly plan their budgets
  8. The government must make sufficient capital funding available to return all school buildings to satisfactory or better condition
  9. Local authority funding of services for schools and children must be properly funded, as must children’s mental and physical health services, so that pupils come to school safe, well and equipped to learn

Call to action - read NGA's guidance on how to lobby for more funding.

Funding the future - the story so far ...  

School governors and trustees are responsible for the financial oversight of their schools, which includes deciding how the budget is spent – and almost three quarters are telling us that they are unable to manage funding pressures without negatively impacting pupils’ education.

It’s clear to see why. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has calculated that total school spending per pupil has fallen by 8% in real terms between 2009-10 and 2017-18. This is in part due to a 55% cut in local authority spending on services for schools and cuts of over 20% to sixth-form funding. Funding provided per pupil to primary and secondary schools has also been hit hard over the past few years, falling 4% since 2015.

We are working with governing boards up and down the country as well as unions, charities and parent groups to make the case for investment in schools.

The impact on schools

We know that governors and trustees have acute concerns about their schools’ budgets. In May and June 2018, 5,218 governors and trustees responded to NGA’s annual survey of school governors and trustees. The findings are a stark reflection of the depth of the current funding crisis:

  • only half of respondents’ schools were able to balance their income and expenditure, with almost a third drawing on reserves – of these, 75% expected that they would run out within two years
  • high needs funding is a big concern, with 74% of respondents saying that current funding is insufficient
  • there is significant pressure on early years provision in schools
  • at the other end of school life, funding pressures are increasingly impacting on sixth form curriculums
  • schools have already made significant cuts due to financial constraints, including to staff – and secondary schools have felt the biggest impact so far
  • all school types are feeling the impact of cuts to local authority services
  • crucially, just one in five respondents thought funding pressures could be managed without negative impact on the quality of education their schools provide

To explore the findings in more detail, click here.

Make your voice heard

NGA is working with others in the sector to make the case for increased school funding but the voices of those tasked with balancing school budgets are vital to getting the message across.

We’re asking governing boards to write to their MP ahead of next year's comprehensive spending review and ask them to put pressure on government to increase funding to schools. Invite your MP to visit your school and see for themselves the impact on children in their constituency.

You will of course want to tell the story of your school (or group of schools) in your own words but NGA has put together an example letter which you can use as a template or as inspiration.


Local events

Fair Funding for All Schools is a national network of parent activists around the country who are setting up independent parent-led groups attached to schools in their local area, campaigning for more funding for all schools across the country. They believe that it is really important to have an independent parent voice alongside those of governors and school leaders. If there are any parents at your school that may be interested in getting involved, they can find out more by contacting or visiting the website at and Twitter at @fairfundschools

What NGA is doing

NGA is engaged in a proactive campaign on behalf of its members, with the voices of governors and trustees at its centre. We are:

  • raising your concerns about funding at every opportunity in our meetings with ministers, civil servants and other influencers
  • raising the profile of the schools funding crisis in the national media
  • working with partners to construct a better understanding of the minimum level of funding schools need
  • maintaining a dialogue with government on the improvement and implementation of the national funding formula 
  • encouraging governors and trustees to take action

When NGA responds to consultations or provides written evidence to select committee inquiries, this is published on our website here

NGA is an independent charity representing and supporting governors, trustees and clerks in maintained schools and academies in England. NGA members have access to a wealth of helpful information in our Guidance Centre: Finance and staffing. NGA Gold members can call our advice line on 0121 237 3782. If you're not a member, click here for more information about joining. 

Latest campaign news

NGA responds to Budget 2018 (29/10/2018)

Raise the Rate: NGA supports campaign for increased sixth-form funding (25/10/2018)