On Friday, more than 1,000 head teachers marched on Downing Street to protest against ‘dangerous’ cuts to budgets.
Judy Shaw, vice-president of the National Association of Head Teachers, has said that things are at such a critical point, her primary school has no more than £80 left in its budget by the end of the academic year.
Another head teacher – this one at a primary school in Theresa May’s constituency – has written to parents asking them to pay for toilet paper.
So, is it really the case then, as any neutral observer might conclude, that budgets have been savagely cut by this heartless Tory government?
In fact, the opposite is true.
The last school year, for example, saw the Government devote an enormous £39 billion to education for five to 16 year-olds in England, up from £37 billion the year before.
This is the highest amount ever spent on schools.
Protesters claim the figure is misleading because it doesn’t take into account rising pupil numbers and inflation. But the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a politically independent economic research body, insists that spending on schools has doubled in the past two decades, even allowing for those factors.
According to the IFS, in fact, the average amount received per pupil by primary schools increased by a whopping 114 per cent in real terms between 1997 and 2015. Secondary schools, too, have been treated well, enjoying a 90 per cent rise in real terms over the same period.
If Mrs Shaw’s school has a mere £80 left in its coffers, it is unlikely that the fault lies with the Government. And if, like me, you’re wondering where all that extra money has gone, here’s a clue: 1,300 head teachers in England are paid more than £100,000, and 600 are paid more than £110,000.
If they’re really so concerned about money for toilet paper, maybe they should pay themselves a bit less.
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