Crass comments reveal the Chancellor's school funding blind spot

29th October 2018

Following today’s announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that there is to be £400 million funding for schools to ‘buy the little extras they need’, Mike Parker, director of Schools North East, said:

"The Chancellor started his Budget off in jovial fashion declaring he was 'Phil the Fiscal' but his crass comments on funding the 'little things' in education is more akin to Phil the Flippant. His comments deny the depth of underfunding in schools, forcing them to write to parents to beg for support and seeing teachers made redundant, curriculum narrowing and slashing the vital enrichment in schools that support the most deprived.

“It is also striking that the Chancellor is more committed to filling holes in the road than he is to filling the holes in education with the announcement of a £420 million ‘pothole’ fund.

"No Head will turn their nose up at this one-off handout but it's time Philip Hammond went back to school to see at first hand the funding crisis and its impact on all children, especially those the Prime Minister's social mobility drive is intended to benefit. A longer term, properly resourced plan is urgently needed to more adequately support schools in these austere times for education."

Children’s Mental Health

On the announcement of improving access to Children and Young Peoples’ Mental Health services, Schools North East director Mike Parker said:

“Schools North East strongly backs the creation of a Children and Young Peoples’ Mental Health Crisis Service in every part of the country. This is huge area of concern for school leaders who are seeing children presenting with more difficult and complex problems than ever before.

"It is essential that a greater focus is placed on the causes of children’s’ mental health problems, some of which are inextricably linked to the higher stakes nature of current education policy. Prevention is vital as this will reduce the cost of funding the symptoms of mental ill health run the long term.

“Schools North East launched the UK’s first and only schools-led mental health commission - Healthy MindED - in response to demand from schools in our region for support, and together we are committed to improving the mental health of children across our region.”