School Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Shadow Minister (Housing) 6:21 pm, 25th January 2017

Teachers in the borough of Hounslow have achieved amazing results over the last 10 or more years. Almost all our schools are good or outstanding, and value-added is positive in every school. That is in a borough where all schools and all classrooms contain children with additional needs of some kind—children who arrive not speaking English, children with disabilities and special educational needs, children who are homeless and keep having to move on or who are sofa surfing with their parents, and children with many other needs. Most of our schools suffer from severe aircraft noise from planes approaching Heathrow.

The overall savings proposed by the Department for Education for schools in my constituency by 2018-19—a combination of the national funding formula and the wider cost pressures that they face now—amount to £5.1 million. That is a 6.2% cut. The existing cost pressures include, as other Members have mentioned, inflation, the apprenticeship levy, pension and national insurance costs, the requirement for independent careers advice, and more children with special needs in our mainstream schools.

As in the Secretary of State’s constituency, the cost pressures that my heads face will mean, on the whole, fewer teachers and support staff, plus other cuts. We have established that each of our secondary schools will have to lose between nine and 18 teachers, and primary schools will have to have up to 11 fewer teachers. Fewer subjects will be taught at key stages 4 and 5, there will be fewer external visits and fewer specialists will come in to teach and enthuse children about future jobs and careers, staying safe or other specialist issues that we want our children to learn about and get their heads around. There will be less specialist and individual support for children who have additional needs, who do not speak English, who are very gifted or who have mental health problems and need counselling. Agency costs for supply teachers, as our headteachers face the recruitment and retention crisis that is affecting all subject areas, will add to the salary bill.

In classrooms where there are children who need additional attention, teachers and children will feel the impact of the cuts every day. More classes will be taught with only one adult—the class teacher—in the room. The lack of additional support is a cost for every child in the classroom, both those who have additional needs and those who do not. The cuts will mean that less is spent on repairing buildings, improving outdoor space or buying the equipment and materials that the curriculum requires.