Islington Headteachers’ Public Statement

A public statement by Headteachers in the London Borough of Islington.

For many years, head teachers, school staff, governors and the education authority have worked tirelessly together to create high-quality provision across the borough which has resulted in excellent outcomes for children in Islington.

An example of this is that in the last decade, the increase in the proportion of children reaching the expected standard for the core subjects at KS2 means that Islington (which is currently the 2nd most deprived borough in the country*) has gone from being 122nd out of 150 Local Authorities to currently being 39th, which puts Islington in the 29th percentile.

We are writing to express our deep concerns that continued inadequate funding of schools will mean that we will not be able to sustain these successes. Instead, we strongly believe that these cuts will result in poorer outcomes for our children, and the same applies for schools across the country.

Unfunded pay-rises, increased pensions and National Insurance contributions have already placed a significant strain on school budgets which have resulted in ‘educational efficiencies’ being made in schools across the country.

The National Audit Office believes that without additional funding, Islington will be forced to make cuts equivalent to approximately £15million by 2019/ 2020. That is a reduction of £711 per pupil and a loss of 400 teachers across our Islington schools alone.

This will put our children’s education at risk. We need investment, not further cuts.

What the Government states:

  1. The National Funding Formula will make the system fairer.
  2. That schools’ funding is now at a record level – more than £40bn this year
  3. There is significant scope for schools to make further efficiencies (£3 billion by 2020)

 

What Headteachers state:

  • The National Funding Formula will simply distribute inadequate funding in a different way
  • School funding is insufficient – there are more pupils than ever before and schools across Islington have already made substantial cuts to provision
  • There is no more scope for efficiencies without this having a significant and detrimental impact on children’s outcomes.

 

What will continued underfunding and further cuts mean for your children?

  • Lower standards and not achieving their full potential
  • Less additional support for children who need it
  • Fewer opportunities for children to be involved in enrichment activities (trips, extended schools, extra-curricular, therapeutic support for children’s wellbeing and mental health, etc.)
  • Fewer resources
  • Less choice in school subjects
  • Larger class sizes

 

For parents:

  • More limited before and after-school childcare and increased costs
  • Less support for families and parents
  • An expectation and pressure for parents to make regular, financial contributions to compensate for underfunding

For staff:

  • Job losses – further staffing cuts and redundancies
  • Unsustainable, increased workload due to redundancies and job losses
  • Difficulty recruiting and retaining Headteachers and teachers
  • Demoralised work force

Cuts are forcing us to do things which we know as professionals are not in the best interests of our children. This cannot continue and we cannot let this go unchallenged.

What can you do to help:

  • Tell everyone in your community what is happening. Be vocal and share this information.
  • Challenge candidates on their party’s funding policy as they canvass in your neighbourhood, demanding that no school loses funding in real terms
  • Stand up for the high quality state education our children currently receive and deserve – see how at http://www.fairfundingforallschools.org/
  • Look up the cuts to your school and sign the petition on schoolcuts.org.uk
  • Lobby your MP – by email or letter (see above websites for examples) to:
    • Increase school funding to compensate for unfunded, increased costs (NI, pension and staff costs)
    • Add further investment to create a truly fair national funding formula for ALL
    • Remove cost of Apprenticeship Levy to schools
    • Reinstate After School Childcare grant for extended school provision
    • Increase Pupil Premium Grant to mitigate for reduced eligibility due to welfare changes or create a more accurate measure of poverty so that disadvantaged children are appropriately funded

*based on IDACI scores which looks at the proportion of households on certain benefits at postcode level

For more information:

National Audit Office assessment https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2016/12/Financialsustainability-of-schools.pdf

Terri Higgins – Highbury Quadrant Primary School