There will be a big change to the way that UK schools receive their funding in the next few years, with the announcement of a new national funding formula. However, the National Union of Teachers is still warning that education will face further cuts in funding, across the board.
With so much change in the pipeline, what are UK schools doing to protect their futures, and those of the pupils they teach? Let’s take a closer look.
Outsourcing extracurricular activities
There will be no dip in school budgets although how this plays out in real terms; we will have to see. It is expected that many schools will, in fact, face a relative reduction of their budgets. Most of these cuts will be applied to educational support services and extracurricular activities. Speech therapy, physiotherapy, and extracurricular music classes, for example, will all face the chop.
Although most parents already pay for some of these services, they tend to be discounted. It allows hard-up families to give their children choices. Schools may have to hand over all these costs to the parents, so less well-off families have the same chances as wealthier kids. However, many extracurricular class teachers may give schools substantial discounts. And, payments from more affluent families could seep down to give poorer children those opportunities.
Schools already rely on their PTAs to raise money for repairs and improvements to the school facilities. But, this might be small fry in comparison to what will come in the next few years. Already, there are schools making requests to parents to plug the gaps in their budgets.
For example, take a look at the Chew Valley School near Bristol. Headteacher Mark Mallett has asked parents to make regular, monthly donations to lend a hand. According to the headteacher, the school is struggling to make ends meet with all the expenses that aren’t accounted for in their budget. It’s things like the increase in National Insurance payments and pension contributions. They are essential to the day-to-day running of the school but are hard to meet without funding. Expect more occurrences like these happening at a school near you.
It’s going to be harder than ever for schools to achieve growth without adequate funding. Government money is supporting plenty of academy institutions at the moment. But, there is little in the way of money from councils to help improve existing schools. It could see a return to schools increasing the amount of new mobile classrooms they use, as opposed to building extensions. There is likely to be money available to institutions that prove their worth in the future, but that proof will need to be there for all to see, first. So, the temporary classrooms that we saw so much of during the 80s are likely to make a return.
It’s not a pretty picture to look at right now, regarding the UK’s educational institutions. There is genuine concern that the new national funding formula for schools will struggle to make a difference. And, many that think it’s going to get worse. If you are a teacher, school governor, or an expert in education, why not let us know your thoughts?