Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement announcement.
“We are bitterly disappointed that the Autumn Statement contained barely a mention of education – particularly as the Prime Minister explicitly said in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in October that his main funding priority in every spending review will be education because it is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet.
“Our schools are literally falling apart, thousands of children are being disrupted because of the crumbling concrete crisis, and large parts of the school estate are riddled with asbestos. Schools and colleges don’t have enough money to meet the likely cost of future pay awards at anything like the level which is needed to address severe and chronic staff shortages, and funding for special educational needs provision is miles short of what is needed to support our most vulnerable children and young people. Yet, none of these problems have been mentioned at all, let alone made a priority. It is lamentable.
“The Prime Minister said that education is the best economic policy, the best social policy and the best moral policy. It was clearly too much to hope that this rhetoric would translate into reality in the Autumn Statement.”