PM announces ‘giant £14 billion’ school funding boost

Cash boost from government comes in addition to an extra £4.4 billion over three years to cover rise in teacher pension costs
30th August 2019, 6:00pm


PM announces ‘giant £14 billion’ school funding boost
£14 Billion Cash Boost For Schools

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tonight said his government will invest £14.4 billion into primary and secondary education between now and 2022-23.  

The funding package will see schools get an extra £2.6 billion for 5-16 education in 2020/21.

Another £2.2 billion will be added to that in 2021-22 with £2.3 billion for 22-23.

Mr Johnson said: “We should not accept the idea that there can be “winners or losers” when it comes to our children’s futures. That’s why we are providing additional funding now and for the future for every school, with those historically underfunded receiving the greatest increase.”

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The government reached the £14.1 billion figure - described by the Department for Education as “giant” and “massive” - by cumulatively adding the three increases. Critics have said this amounts to double counting. 

However, the boost has met Mr Johnson’s pledge to give schools an extra £4.6 billion in funding for schools by 2022-23 and ensures that all schools will receive a per-pupil funding rise at least in line with inflation.

The deal includes £700 million extra for children with Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in 2020-21.

Pension costs also covered

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said that, in addition, schools will receive £4.4 billion over three years to cover rising pension costs which would “ensure they can focus their resources on the front line”.

Heads’ leaders welcomed the “very important” funding boost. But the money for teacher pay rises - expected to be announced in the near future - may be expected to come from within today’s extra funding. 

Questions also remain about how schools will get through the next academic year before the new money kicks in.

It was revealed today that a third of schools have already cut teaching jobs because of the funding crisis, half have cut support staff and a quarter are going cap in hand to parents.

Earlier this week when DfE funding plans were leaked, unions raised that concerns extra money would be prioritised for Conservative areas. And today’s announcements were vague about whether it would be distributed according to the new national funding formula.

The DfE only said it would “progress the implementation” of the formula and an insider said the formula could be “tweaked” next year.    

‘Largest boost in a generation’

Mr Williamson said: “We owe it to the next generation to ensure our education system is world class, and that nothing stands in the way of our young people having the best choices in life, whatever course they take.

“This £14 billion funding increase - the largest cash boost in a generation - means our schools can continue to raise standards and build an education system that boosts productivity, improves social mobility and equips children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the bright future that lies ahead.”

Luke Sibieta, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the extra cash only amounted to a £7.1 billion increase because the £14 billion figure “double counted” increases over the years.

But he said this amount would be “more than sufficient” to reverse the effect of cuts to school funding since 2009-10.

He said the prime minister’s pledge that every secondary school will receive a minimum of £5,000 per pupil next year and every primary school would get a minimum of £4,000 from 2021-22 would “definitely amount to an above-inflation increase.”

Hard to renege on

Geoff Barton, general secretary of Association of School and College Leaders, said the cash was a “very important symbolic gesture” which, despite current political uncertainty, would be “hard for any future government to renege on.”

He said: “It’s a line in the sand, in a way, which is setting the bar in very clear terms as to as to what any future government ought to be spending on education.”

Kevin Courtney, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: “The money now promised will in many cases be enough to mean schools don’t need to make further cuts next year. It is also welcome that a three-year funding plan has been laid out - long-term funding has been a theme of our campaigning.

“However, even the sums announced today are not enough to reverse all of the cuts already made that have so damaged children’s education - and we will continue to campaign alongside heads, parents and governors for the funding our children need.”

The DfE said further details on new funding for sixth forms and further education would be set out tomorrow, followed by reforms to teacher pay, and action to tackle poor behaviour and bullying.

As good as it looks?

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union said: “We hope that this announcement is as good as it looks. On the face of it, this investment appears to repair some of the damage that has been done to the education system since the cuts began in 2010. We’ve won the argument that it was only going to be new money from the Treasury that would solve the school funding crisis.”

Jo Yurky, co-founder of the national parent-led campaign Fair Funding for All Schools, said: “Every penny of this funding is the result of the tireless campaigning of parents, teachers and school leaders up and down the country.

“We forced ministers to confront the problem. And now we’ve forced them to act. We need to see the detail, of course.

“It may still not be enough to solve all our problems. But it is a victory for us and, more importantly, our children in schools across the country.”







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