Times are hard for schools in England because they have so little money to spend. They have to cut back on many things. There is austerity in the UK so the government has cut school budgets. One head teacher at a school in London does not have enough money to pay for cleaners or canteen staff. This means she has to help to clean the toilets and serve students in the school cafeteria. Ms Siobhan Lowe is head of Tolworth Girls' School in south London. She recently told reporters that she was embarrassed because her school did not have enough money to support her students. Ms Lowe said she has sold school land, cut subjects and fired her deputy-head teacher to keep her school open.
The south London school is typical of many schools in the UK. Thousands of head teachers have to make difficult decisions about how to spend their school's money. More than 7,000 head teachers recently wrote to 3.5 million parents to explain why the schools have no money. Many parents have become volunteers at schools to help the children. Some schools have asked parents to provide toilet paper and other basics for the school toilets and classrooms. One school only has enough money to give students one sheet of A4 paper a month. Head teachers want to meet the UK's education secretary, but he refused to meet them. The UK's Department for Education said funding for education was a government priority.