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.
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 and the Chancellor ahead of the autumn budget on 29 October. 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.
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 email@example.com or visiting the website at www.fairfundingforallschools.org and Twitter at @fairfundschools
What NGA is doing
NGA is engaged in a proactive campaign on behalf of its members. 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
- responding to the government’s schools national funding formula consultation
- encouraging governors and trustees to take action
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.