NUT conference 2018: 77% of primary teachers report SEND cuts

Schools are increasingly cutting support for SEND pupils, particularly at primary level, a union survey has found.

Seventy-seven per cent of primary school teachers and 55 per cent of secondary teachers told the National Union of Teachers their school had cut SEND provision. Last year, just 38 per cent of primary teachers and 44 per cent of secondary teachers report cuts in that area.

Overall, 94 per cent of teachers said they were pessimistic about their school’s budget prospects over the next three years.

To coincide with its annual conference in Brighton this weekend, the NUT today released the findings of a survey of around 900 of its members on school funding, which show schools are also cutting support and teaching roles to make ends meet.

Of the respondents, 72 per cent of primary teachers and 73 per cent of secondary teachers reported cuts to classroom-related support staff posts, up from 59 per cent and 72 per cent last year.

Cuts to other, non-classroom-based support staff roles were also reported by 49 per cent of primary teachers and 75 per cent of secondary teachers. At the same time, 80 per cent of secondary teachers said their school had cut teaching posts, up from 71 per cent last year.

Cuts to school maintenance budgets were also reported by 30 per cent of primary teachers and 28 per cent of secondary teachers. One respondent spoke of cleaning cutbacks and described their school as “filthy”.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT and joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the survey highlighted the “dreadful consequences a lack of school funding is having on the education of our children and young people”.

“Removing teaching and support staff is gathering pace, parents are regularly being asked for money, subjects are being dropped from the curriculum, school trips cancelled, books and resources are not being replaced and class sizes are rising. Government should be ashamed of this list yet unbelievably is standing idly by and doing nothing about it.

“Cutbacks to staff impacts on workload, and a lack of funding on teacher pay is in turn having a negative impact on teacher recruitment and retention. Enough is enough.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said the average teacher earns £37,400 outside London and £41,900 in the capital, and said the government wanted to “continue to attract and keep the best and brightest people in our schools”.

“We have already given schools freedom over staff pay and have asked the independent school teachers’ review body to take account of the government’s flexible approach to public sector pay as they develop their recommendation.”