Union slams “devastating” school staff cuts as funding gap begins to bite

New figures show more than ten thousand support staff jobs lost

GMB, the union for school support staff, today said that children’s education was suffering as support staff bear the brunt of school funding cuts.

New figures reveal that the overall school workforce in England fell in 2016.

This was the first reduction in education employment since 2011, when the records were compiled on a different basis.

The number of support staff declined from 462,200 in 2015 to 450,900 in 2016 – a cut of 11,300.

According to the National Audit Office, mainstream schools face a funding gap of £3 billion by 2019/20.

Department for Education guidance indicates that most of the shortfall will be met from staffing budgets.

The jobs lost include site staff such as caretakers, administrative workers and catering staff.

Sharon Wilde, GMB National Officer for schools, said: “Many school workers are in a desperate position.

“They are too often seen as a soft target, but support staff cuts are having a devastating impact on our schools.

“Support staff are the hidden professionals of the education system. Without them teachers would be left with a completely unmanageable workload, and schools can’t function if buildings can’t be secured and children can’t be fed.

“GMB is fighting to protect support staff jobs, but these shocking new figures underline what our members have been telling us for some time: thousands of posts have been lost, and the situation has already worsened in 2017.

“Uncertainty over the future of the National Funding Formula is adding to the worry many of our members experience.

“How can the Government just tell people to get on with the job, when they don’t even know if there will be a job to go back to next year?

“Ministers need to stop denying that school budgets are being cut – the reality is in front of us.

“If staff cuts continue then many schools will struggle to fulfil their statutory obligations.

“It’s absolutely vital that schools get the extra funding they need as soon as possible.”

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