Commenting on the report by IPPR into the funding of schools in the north of England, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“The Government’s economic and social policies have hit the most deprived communities, many of which are in the north, the hardest.
“It is areas of deprivation, rather than affluence, that have borne the brunt of the cuts.
“The impact of cuts to public services and attacks on welfare have had a disproportionate impact on areas where child poverty is at its most acute. In-work poverty, particularly in the north, has increased under this Government.
“The link between poverty and lower education attainment is well established.
“The NASUWT’s own research has found that increasing numbers of pupils are coming to school hungry, anxious and unable to concentrate on their learning because of the financial pressures on their families.
“Tackling poverty requires a coherent strategy which tackles housing, health and education, as well as poverty itself.
“Despite the claims to the contrary, Government spending on schools has actually fallen in real terms since 2010 and school budgets are coming under increasing strain.
“The NASUWT has been raising concerns for some time about the impact of the Government’s failure to create a funding mechanism for schools which ensures that the educational entitlements for all pupils are met.
“The Government’s current planned reforms to the school funding system are likely to exacerbate inequality and lead to significant turbulence as the planned move to a single national funding formula could result in areas of disadvantage and deprivation losing out.
“The creation of a funding system that is capable of meeting local needs and circumstances must be the best way to ensure that the needs of all children and young people are met.
“Additional, sustained and significant investment in education and schools is needed in order to ensure that neither location nor deprivation is allowed to derail children’s life chances.”
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