Following years of government budget cuts, parents are now turning to crowdfunding Web sites in order to provide basic school supplies.
Appeals have been launched on websites including Justgiving.com for online donations towards items such as whiteboards and computers, as well as to pay for crossing attendants.
These include one for Camelsdale Primary School, which set up a page to raise money for a replacement whiteboard.
The drastic measures are being publicised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who have set up a ‘School Cuts’ website which shares details of the more than 18,000 schools that could face further cuts.
The website contains a tool with which people can check how their school will be affected, while urging voters to petition their local MP candidates to oppose more cuts before the election.
The project, which is also backed by NAHT, The Education Union (ATL) and GMB, also forecasts the future for UK education and claims that by 2022, 93% of schools will have per-pupil funding cut.
According to the National Audit Office, the Tory pledge to inject £4bn into education, thus changing the funding formula, could actually result in 9,000 schools facing more cuts.
In a blog, the Department of Education deny claims made in a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that schools are not protected from further funding cuts.
They state: “That is not true – we have protected schools from losing more than 3% per pupil and that protection is guaranteed for the lifetime of the formula.
“[…] Indeed, there has been a substantial increase in school funding over the years.”
Basing findings on a National Audit office report into school financial sustainability, a spokesperson writes: “The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40 bn in 2016-17 – and that is set to rise as pupil numbers rise over the next two years.”
Prime Minister has echoed this claim several times, stating in an interview with Andrew Marr: “The level of funding going into schools is at record level.”
However, Professor Sandra McNally from the School of Economics, University of Surrey, published an article fact-checking this “highest level on record” claim.
She explains that only the “per pupil expenditure” (the amount spent on each pupil) is relevant, rather than the total amount of money available.
According to Professor McNally, current spending per pupil was “largely frozen in real terms” between 2010 and 2016.
And as onward spending is frozen in cash terms, this will likely lead to a “real terms reduction of around 6.5 per cent by 2019-2020”.
She explained this would, in reality, be a real-term fall in per-pupil spending – the biggest in 30 years.
“Theresa May’s claim is misleading because it omits important information,” Professor McNally concluded.
By Harriet Marsden for www.independent.co.uk