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School heads to march on Downing St

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Saving money on education is a “false economy”, unions have warned, as a thousand headteachers prepare to march on Downing Street today to campaign for more funding.

Headteachers from schools across the country, including several in Yorkshire, are to take part in the rally which will petition Education Secretary Damian Hinds and the Chancellor for additional resource.

“Head teachers are not normally the marching kind,” said Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT. “So, when they do, it must be serious. They’re sick of being told that there’s more money in education than ever before, when what they see with their own eyes every day proves that it’s just not enough. More and more now, children succeed despite the system, not because of it. And that can’t be right.”

NAHT research shows that almost three-quarters of school leaders expect they will be unable to balance their budgets in the next financial year, while in July, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said total school spending per pupil fell around eight per cent in real terms in England between 2009/10 and 2017/18. Too many schools are at breaking point, education leaders have said, as they prepare to take their battle to the doors of Downing Street.

“With austerity, we all realise we have to make changes,” said Cathy Rowland, headteacher of Dobcroft Infant School in Sheffield who is to join the rally. But the reality is much worse. What we are left with is very unpalatable resources.”

The Department of Education has disputed the budgetary drop, stating that the spending on schooling is the highest its ever been, with funding rising to a record £43.5bn by 2020 – 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000.