Last reviewed 23 May 2022

According to figures from a leading social mobility charity, 68% of primary school senior leaders report receiving insufficient catch-up funding this year, with 51% saying that they have reduced the number of teaching assistants.

Other Heads reported cutting back on IT equipment, trips, sport and extracurricular activities.

The survey of 1371 teachers, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) for the Sutton Trust as part of its Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey, highlights the continuing funding challenges faced by schools as a result of the pandemic, as well as soaring energy costs.

Overall, 57% of Headteachers in England said that the funding they received to help pupils recover from the pandemic was insufficient this year. Funding issues are particularly pronounced in primary schools, with only 30% of primary Heads saying funding has been sufficient, compared to 53% at secondary schools.

This latest polling also reveals that 33% of primary and secondary Headteachers report using their pupil premium — funding given to schools to support poorer pupils — to plug gaps in their general budget.

This is the same level as in 2021 but up substantially from 23% in 2019, suggesting, the Trust says, that schools are struggling to cope with the continuing costs of the pandemic.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “With all these ongoing pressures, dedicated funding for poorer pupils through the pupil premium is more crucial than ever. It’s a disgrace that a third of heads still report using pupil premium funding to plug budget gaps. The Government must make an enormous investment in education recovery so that all pupils are given a chance to succeed.”