Union chiefs in St Helens call on government to end school funding crisis

NEU says figures show that schools in St Helens have lost 4 million in real-terms since 2015
NEU says figures show that schools in St Helens have lost 4 million in real-terms since 2015

Union chiefs in St Helens have called on the government to end the school funding crisis by injecting more cash into the education system.


The St Helens branch of National Education Union (NEU) said 61 out of 63 schools in the borough will be worse off financially in 2019-20 compared to the previous year.

In addition, the NEU says figures show that schools in St Helens have lost £4 million in real-terms since 2015.

Patrick White, joint secretary of the NEU, has called the situation “intolerable”.

But despite concerns from school leaders across the country, the government has repeatedly pointed to record education spending levels, with core funding for schools and high needs rising to £43.5 billion by 2019-20.

However, Mr White claimed young people are being “short-changed by a government that believes that education can be run on a shoe-string budget.”

Mr White said: “As a result of this government’s absolute refusal to accept that a school funding crisis exists means that across the country school classes are increasing, teachers and support staff are being reduced, building repairs are being left undone, subjects are being dropped from the curriculum and teachers are having to pay out of their own pockets for items such as pens and text books.

“This situation cannot be allowed to carry on.

“There needs to be a reversal in cuts to school budgets since 2010 and for the funding of schools and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision to be at a level that ensures all children and young people get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live.”

The DfE said that, since 2017, the government has provided every local authority more money for every pupil in every school.

“St Helens is receiving an increase of 4.7 per cent per pupil for its schools in 2019-2020, compared to 2017-18 funding levels – an increase of £7.4 million when rising pupil numbers are also taken into account,” a DfE spokesman said.

“But we do recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and that’s why we’re supporting schools and head teachers, and their local authorities, to make the most of every pound.”