NEWS
28/09/2018 07:59 BST | Updated 28/09/2018 16:33 BST

Thousands Of Headteachers Have Marched To Downing Street – Here's Why

It's the first time school leaders have staged protest action against cuts.

More than two thousand headteachers have marched on Downing Street to request more funding for schools.

The teachers delivered petition warning that the current education funding situation is “unsustainable”.

The march has been organised by the National Association of headteachers (NAHT) and school leaders from up and down the country attended to demand action from the government.

The NAHT has three overriding aims: “fair and sufficient” funding for all schools, improved teacher retention rates, and “enhanced social mobility” for vulnerable and disadvantaged students.

“In the short term, the Chancellor must ensure the major rising cost pressures on school budgets must be meaningfully addressed and improved,” they say.

The organisation is also calling for two “crisis-hit” areas – sixth forms, and budgets for students with special needs and disabilities – to receive “emergency relief funding”.

“In the longer term, the 2020 comprehensive spending review must ensure that every school is sufficiently funded,” their statement on the march adds.

While parents, teaching union members and other school staff have previously staged demonstrations against budget cuts, this is the first time school leaders have done so.

In July, analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed funding per pupil has reduced by 8% since 2010, with rising numbers of pupils and budget cuts affecting the figure.

The Department of Education has claimed school-funding is higher than ever, promising that it will rise to a record £43.5bn by 2020.

However, the headteachers – who are in charge of making the budgets work – dispute the claim that there is enough money.

Marijke Miles, the headteacher at a special educational needs school in Hampshire, has outlined her reasons for protesting in a blog published on HuffPost UK.

“We’re sick of being told that there’s more money in education than ever before, when what we see with our own eyes every day proves that it’s just not enough,” she writes. “We are seeing schools – both maintained and academies that are seeing their funds depleted, dipping into their reserves, and having to send out begging letters to parents.”

“This is not through choice, this is because there is no alternative.”

Judy Shaw, vice-president of the NAHT, told Sky News that schools can no longer turn to local authorities for help funding things like “extra support for special educational needs or a speech therapist or behavioural psychologist”.

“Now we have to find money from our own budgets - and the money simply isn’t there any more,” she said.

“So when the government says we have never been so well-funded, what they’re not telling you is that we’re paying out for more things than ever before.”

The crowd size estimate was provided to the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) by the Metropolitan Police.