Almost two-thirds of school leaders in England have had to dip in to reserves or make significant cuts in order to fill deficits. The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) distributed a questionnaire to 1,069 school leaders and found that 76% of heads were using reserved, around half were reducing their maintenance budget, 49% were reducing the numbers or hours of Teaching Assistants and 64% were reducing investment in equipment.
The results also showed that 45% of school leaders believed that their budget would be untenable within two years based on current projections. A further 67% said that in four years’ time, they will not be able to balance the books and 7% are already running a deficit. Perhaps the most worrying statistic is 82% of heads surveyed said that these budget cuts will have a negative impact on standards.
Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary claims that these budget cuts are a false economy because education is an investment in the future.
The cost increases that schools face, which are causing a thinly spread budget, include a rise in employer National Insurance contributions from April 2016, an increase in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the average public-sector pay settlement of 1% per year.
The Department of Education says that they will be protecting the schools budget, which will rise alongside student numbers.