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  1. ITV Report

Parents and teachers protest over school cuts

The protest took place in Carlisle city centre. Credit: ITV Border

Parents and teachers gathered in Carlisle today to protest against real-terms cuts to school budgets.

They point to research from the National Audit Office, published in December 2016, which says nationally schools will have to make £3 billion of efficiency savings by 2019/2020.

The Department for Education has said that funding for 2016 was £40 billion, a record amount, and that the amount spent per pupil has doubled in the last 20 years.

However, the protestors say that inflation, and higher National Insurance and pension costs for schools, mean they are increasingly out of pocket.

In Cumbria I'm hearing from schools that are already cut to the quick. They're already looking at how they are going to arrive at a balanced budget this year. It's happening now.

– Graham Frost, Headteacher of Robert Ferguson Primary School

The Department for Education has also changed the National Funding Formula, which determines how much money each school gets.

They say that means schools in parts of Cumbria will be better off, but the protestors argue that others will see further cuts, and even those that will benefit will still see a real-terms decrease in funding.

When we talk about the funding formula, it's the equivalent of talking about where you put the orchestra on the deck of the Titanic, while it sinks. With the current levels of funding, education is sinking. We have to rescue the ship now.

– David Marshall, Regional Officer, NAHT