Government claims of 'record' school funding are misleading, says former Ofsted head

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The UK government is misleading the public by claiming that it is spending “record amounts” on education, according to the former head of Ofsted.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of schools between 2012 and 2016, said that more funding was needed to prevent standards deteriorating.

He spoke out during an interview on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, days after parents marched in protest at cuts that forced some schools to close at lunchtime on Friday.

Last year the Department for Education dismissed the concerns of thousands of headteachers by saying that the UK was “the third highest spender on education in the world”.

Asked if he thought the government was being misleading, Sir Michael replied: “Yes... there are many more children in our schools now than there were a few years ago, national insurance contributions, pension contributions at schools have also gone up and the big challenge for our system at the moment is that we have not got enough teachers and good leaders in our schools. 

“Talk to head teachers, as I do all the time, and they will say funding is an issue. It is particularly an issue when they can’t attract good enough people into our schools to raise standards and unless we can do that and pay teachers enough money to come into the profession and stay in the profession then we’ll see a decline in standards.”

Sir Michael said that schools in the north of England in particular were struggling for funding. “There is no question about that and it’s sad to see.

“It is very worrying that the great progress that we made in schools and it’s worrying that there could be a slowdown.”

He also said he was worried that education would suffer because of the focus on Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership contest. 

“The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget will be absolutely critical and every head teacher in the country will be looking very closely at that,” he said.

“The huge progress that we’ve made – and there’s a lot more to do in the country – that huge progress is in danger of falling back unless the funding goes into schools.”

Source: Independent