Don’t believe the Tories’ school funding hype | Letters

Readers question the credibility of government promises of more money for education

Parents across the country are well aware of the damage being caused by cuts to their children’s schools (Tories’ controversial school plans revealed in leaked document, 28 August). They have seen teaching assistants’ jobs disappear and know exactly what this means for classrooms and the smooth running of schools.

Far from the increase claimed in the secret document, the government’s own figures show a 12% cut in the number of teaching assistants in secondary schools. The leaked briefing lays bare the government’s disparaging attitude towards teaching assistants – the very same members of staff so highly regarded by heads, teachers, pupils and parents.

If ministers are serious about addressing the school funding crisis, they should be looking to invest in our teaching assistants to enhance children’s education, not threatening to axe them.
Dave Prentis
General secretary, Unison

• In your analysis of the government’s education proposals (More money, more discipline, higher salaries – the Tories are hoping to win back voters, 28 August), you wisely ask how much will make its way into headteachers’ budgets.

A recent research project shows that the administrative costs of academies are significantly higher than for local authority schools. The overall difference is £167 per pupil in academies as opposed to £115 in local authority maintained schools.

The authors, Jonathan Crossley Holland and Peter Earley, recognise the complexity of this kind of analysis and recommend a further urgent review of this expenditure including the use of comparative international data, greater transparency and an evaluation of cost effectiveness.

It should not be assumed that the academy (or free school) model is best, whether or not more money is on its way.
Professor Margaret Maden

• Let’s not get too excited about the “new” schools funding. It is effectively restoring some of the cuts since 2010. It does nothing to reverse the growing divide between better and worse funded state schools.
Peter Taylor-Gooby
Canterbury, Kent

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