School cash injection ‘too little too late’, says union
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A £3.5billion cash injection planned for schools across England is ‘too little too late’, according to a Suffolk union.
Leaked papers published by The Guardian this week suggest a £3.5bn funding boost is to be announced soon, with cash to boost teachers' salaries, filling staff shortage gaps and measures to improve discipline, as well as increasing the number of free schools.
The Suffolk branch of the National Education Union (NEU) said it welcomed any additional money put directly into schools, but said the funding had come too late.
"Whilst we do not know the precise details of the extra school funding proposed by the government the indications are it is too little too late," said Graham White from the Suffolk branch.
"The NEU welcomes any extra money put directly into schools. The NEU has done extensive and exhaustive calculations and the conclusion is that £12.6bn is required per year by 2022.
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"The rumour is that the government are proposing up to £5bn so less than 40% of what is urgently required.
"To make matters worse for schools some of this sum will go to create even more free schools - ie not go to existing schools that are so desperate for funds but instead go to create schools which do not need to employ qualified teachers, do not need to offer national pay and conditions, do not need to offer the national curriculum, are not accountable to local communities, are often built where no shortage of school places exist and are exempt from Freedom of Information act.
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"The NEU believes every local community should have a good state funded local authority school, employing qualified teachers on national pay and conditions, with enough funding to provide the best education for all its pupils irrespective of those pupils' needs and being accountable to the local community.
"Our pupils deserve the best so why will the government not fund schools properly?"
Prime minister Boris Johnson has already pledged to put an extra £4.6bn into schools per year by 2022, although there were fears that it was electioneering by the Conservative government ahead of a possible general election in the autumn.
Other measures understood to be included are proposals to encourage schools to ban mobile phones, offer academy trusts incentives to take over struggling schools and remove exemptions for 'outstanding' schools from Ofsted inspections.