The National Audit Office calculates that by 2019-20, the education system will face cuts of 8% in real terms. That amounts to about £3bn in England – or the equivalent of £20,000 per pupil during their time in the classroom. Put that together with the new funding formula, which will see 9,000 schools face vast additional budget cuts, and secondary schools in England alone are heading for the steepest cuts to funding since the 1970s.
Last time I looked it up that would take real funding per head back to about 2005. So not all that much of an Unholy Terror then.
And as ever with Frances Ryan the terrors that come from such cuts turn out to be rather unterrifying:
Less than six miles from Downing Street and the office Theresa May is seeking to return to, primary school children have to clean their own classrooms. This week it was reported that pupils in the London borough of Wandsworth are now vacuuming at the end of the day because their school is so underfunded that it can’t afford to replace its cleaner, a story that illustrates not only the horror of today’s austerity but is a warning sign for the future.
It is a horror of austerity that pupils learn that things need to be cleaned?
When paper and electricity become luxuries, photocopying “caps” are the only option: one school in Bath apparently now allows only “one sheet per class per week”, and in a Peterborough school, they’re down to “one sheet of A4 per pupil”.
“At a time when year 11, 12 and 13 are desperate to attempt past papers as part of revision,” one teacher said, “we’re having to tell our poorest 16- to 18 year-olds to use their own paper-round and babysitting money to print off their own resources.”
And I call bollocks on that. Jeez, paper just ain’t expensive.