Campaign reports further decline in UK school resources expenditure

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While UK schools were expecting to reduce their resources expenditure in 2017, the reality will be worse than any time in the past five years, according to new figures published by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

The report, undertaken by the National Education Research Panel with a representative sample of headteachers from across the UK, found that the forecast for resources spending across primary and secondary schools in 2017 was a -5.5 per cent reduction in expenditure year on year. This is a further decline on 2016, where expenditure was down -4.7 per cent.

Worryingly, the quarterly review found that headteachers are reigning in their expenditure more than they had anticipated earlier in the year. Where primary school headteachers expected a decrease of -4.2% when last surveyed in April 2017, they registered a decline of -6.3 per cent this time around.

Primary schools are most likely to be spending less. The report, which surveyed 387 schools, found that 55 per cent of the primary school headteachers anticipate lower spending in ICT resources in 2017, 41 per cent in non-ICT and 44 per cent in furniture.

The situation is only slightly better in secondary schools: 48 per cent say they will spend less on ICT, 41 per cent on non-ICT resources and 42 per cent on furniture.

The overall forecast for resources expenditure across UK schools is a decline of -5.5 per cent compared to the previous year. This is the worst in at least five years: 2016 saw a decline of -4.7 per cent, which ended three years of growth: +1.3 per cent in 2015, +4.4 per cent in 2014 and +3.8 per cent in 2013.

Patrick Hayes, Director of BESA — which initiated the Resource Our Schools campaign — said:

Expenditure on school resources is now lower than any time since the Great Recession. While there is, rightly, considerable pressure on government to increase the education budget, it is paramount that resources are not overlooked.

The UK is renowned the world over for its high standard of education and there is a voracious demand for UK educational resources, technology and talent overseas. As schools benefit from the UK’s leadership in education across the globe, it is of the greatest importance that pupils across the UK do as well.

BESA launched its Resource Our Schools campaign in May 2017, and over 400 subject associations, unions, companies, and concerned parents and teachers have signed up to its campaign statement.

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