NFER teacher survey suggests school funding is top election issue

Press Release

Monday 3 June 2024

A new survey suggests school funding is the most important education issue to teachers in the run up to the next General Election. 

NFER recently polled 1,282 school teachers and senior leaders as part of its General Election - Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey.  

When asked which education issues were most important to them when considering who to vote for, 81 per cent placed school funding in their top three. 

The second highest placed issue was ‘reform of the accountability system/Ofsted (56 per cent). Next were ‘addressing the teacher recruitment and retention issues’ and ‘ensuring there is sufficient support and resources for pupils with SEND’ (both 47 per cent). 

Interestingly the survey also showed only two per cent of teachers do not intend to vote – a noticeably low figure given general election turnout has fluctuated between 59 and 78 per cent over the last 50 years. 

NFER chief executive Carole Willis said:  

“Sufficient funding for schools is of vital importance to a well-functioning education system.  

“This latest polling shows how important school funding is to teachers, and we urge all political parties to prioritise future spending pledges on the education system to improve outcomes for all children and young people in this country.” 

Less than one per cent of respondents placed ‘implementing the Advanced British Standard’  and ‘ensuring every pupil is studying maths to age 18’ in their top three education issues. Five per cent of respondents ranked ‘charging independent schools VAT’ in their top three priorities. 

There was also a noticeable difference in the responses from primary and secondary school teachers and leaders: 

  • Primary teachers and leaders ranked Ofsted reform as more of a priority than their Secondary equivalents (60 per cent vs 39 per cent)  
  • Primary teachers and leaders also rated ensuring SEND support more highly than their Secondary equivalents (52 per cent vs 23 per cent)  
  • Secondary teachers and leaders prioritised addressing teacher recruitment and retention issues more highly than their primary equivalents (68 per cent vs 43 per cent)