Fund the 8%

There is something of a “secondary head teachers’ spring” going on in Essex. This is a respectable and polite uprising, but it is giving MPs some very difficult homework over how schools in England are funded against the Headteachers’ campaign slogan “Fund the 8%”.

Essex Secondary Headteachers are applying pressure – not through unions or strike threats, but by well coordinated and relentlessly reasonable demands.

These bastions of respectability have written to every Essex MP today outlining their genuine concern that regardless of Government rhetoric about the National Funding Formula and extra funding the reality is that schools are underfunded by 8%. Even if the NFF is introduced in 2018 Essex schools (as a whole) will still be in the bottom third of the funding levels of all the Local Authorities in England.

This is an unprecedented show of unity, by Essex Secondary Headteachers, leading schools from across the spectrum including community, faith, foundation, grammar and academy, stating they are not going to put up with the unnecessary confusion and disruption being caused.

Head teachers in Essex are having to take draconian action in the face of this “dire financial situation” If you talk to Headteachers, you will hear a deafening chorus of what they are most worried about – a shortage of funding and teachers.

Schools are subject to the political whims of the Government in power. When the Government wants to push forward its ideology such as academisation, opening free schools that do not meet basic need, selection, pressing ahead with the failing UTC programme it finds millions if not billions of pounds to fund these pet projects often with no firm research base.

From the start of the year the pressure on the government has been mounting and shows no signs of relenting, if anything Headteachers voices are becoming more vocal and vociferous, but always respectful.

On the 1 February 2017, Sean Coughlan, Education correspondent, posted his article on the BBC website reporting the crippling financial difficulties faced by the governments flagship academies

The Schools Minister Nick Gibb is hoping to weather the storm and is seemingly oblivious to the fast approaching funding tsunami.

DfE Advice on School Finance

Please feel free to either watch the video or read the 11 page guide. 

Top tips include:

 a). ‘Knowing that teaching cost make up 50% of school budget costs and that areas to review might include:

1). Teacher contact time

2). Pupil / teacher ratios

3). Teacher support staff ratios

4). Managing supply cost

 b). When looking at buildings we should consider whether or not to:

‘Go for new build or repair…’

Tory MPs increase pressure on ministers over school funding cuts – see here:

Why is the government willing to increase spending on Health, DfID, Defence and Transport but not willing to do so for schools? – see here:

An open and honest interview given by Vic Goddard in support of the ASHE “Fund the 8%” campaign –

The Government is facing further criticism on its flagship proposal –

Article in Educating Brentwood:

TES picks up the Essex funding campaign –

London schools join the campaign –

Boswells School statement to the Essex Chronicle re underfunding:
Essex head teachers demand more money for underfunded schools | Essex Live

Andreas Schleicher (PISA) warns against underfunding education
Check out this article in TES


Local authorities write joint letter urging Justine Greening to invest £335 million to prevent school budget cuts –

New national funding formula will see 10,740 schools gain and 9,128 lose –

BBC News reports of Head resigning –

Please check out Carl Wakefield’s excellent interview on BBC Essex Radio Wednesday 22 February.  It is one hour into the broadcast at 7-00am.

Telegraph reports on the increased cost of employing supply teachers in the face of teacher recruitment crisis –

‘Tory MP Sir David Amess may vote against the Government in the funding debate if things don’t change’

Academies are also feeling the pinch

Head resigns over funding crisis –

Lack of funding puts teachers’ jobs at risk –

Lesson in stupidity: Savage chop in classroom as schools face first real-terms cuts in 20 years – Mirror Online –

Brentwood headteacher slams Government funding policy –

Funding plan will hit poor pupils hardest – campaigners 

Essex Heads spell out the reality of school budget cuts | Educating Brentwood

“FUND THE 8%” – Essex Heads spell out the reality of school budget cuts

Head teachers have written to parents of 500,000 pupils to warn them of cuts to local schools.  Parents and MPs sent warning on school cuts

Philip Hammond’s old school Shenfield High School – Carole Herman leads the way to challenge the Chancellor’s budget.  The interview is about 2 hours 7 minutes into the programme

Carole Herman is interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire: –

Sky’s view of Greenings address to the ASCL Conference –

Sian Carr responds at the ASCL Conference –

The view of TES-

Telegraph reports the behind closed doors speech to the ASCL Conference: –

The Education Fellowship Trust is the first academy chain to be forced to give up all its schools. Funding terminated from failing academy trust

This is what our colleagues are doing in Cornwall, West Sussex and Essex: Cornwall/East Sussex/Essex? West Sussex Victoria Derbyshire at about 9.15. Essex head – Carole Herman BBC radio Sussex – Start at 1hr:50mins

Even the person who first raised the concept of a “Fair Funding Formula”, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, is now expressing serious concerns about the proposed NFF! –

Former chancellor first announced the formula but has now taken a ‘direct’ message about teachers’ concerns to the Education Secretary Justine Greening –

Every school in England will see budget cuts before 2020, even after new funding plans are put into place: –

An ASHE commentary on figures in the Institute for Fiscal Studies Green Budget 2017 – issued by IfS on 7 February 2017

Slide 1 (below) – shows very clearly how the government is prepared to fund increases in spending for Transport, DfID, Defence and Health but not for Education, Home Office, etc.

Slide 2 (below) – shows how spending on health, pensioner benefits and overseas aid all increase whilst others have to take a hit – in the case of schools, a 0.4% reduction in national income spent on schools.

Education is an “infrastructure investment” – it is the most important infrastructure investment a government can make.

Questions for the government:

  1. Why is the government willing to increase spending on Health, DfID, Defence and Transport but not willing to do so for schools? Surely schools and education are a key part of the nation’s infrastructure and an investment for the future. Obviously, invest in Health, DfID, Defence and Transport but why, for example, does Transport get such a massive investment when schools are being cut?

  1. Why does the government continue to support the Triple Lock for pensioners (meaning that spending on pensioner benefits is rising ahead of inflation) whilst simultaneously denying investment in the youth of today through our schools?


Useful Links:

DfE financial guidance on schools

Posted in Front Page.