Thousands of schools 'face cuts' despite cash boost

More than 5,000 schools could be hit with further real-terms funding cuts, as costs rise above rate of inflation
11th October 2019, 4:46pm


Thousands of schools 'face cuts' despite cash boost
School Funding: Thousands Of Schools Could Still Be Facing Real-terms Funding Cuts – Despite The Government's Pledge Of Extra Funding, New Research Shows

Thousands of schools are likely to face further real-terms cuts, despite promises of a huge cash injection from the government, new analysis shows.

Provisional school funding data for England shows that around 25 per cent of primaries (4,211 schools) and 26 per cent of secondaries (823 schools) will get a per-pupil funding rise of just 1.84 per cent next year - the minimum increase allocated by the government as part of its three-year plan to boost school spending.

Investment: DfE plans 'could increase pressure on school budgets'

Inequality: Big regional differences in DfE's extra schools funding

Controversy: Williamson says 'things have been a bit tight in schools'

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced in August that the Department for Education would be investing a further £7.1 billion in England's schools by 2022-23, after years of lobbying by heads and teachers for more funds.

School funding: 'winners and losers'

Ministers have said that schools that have been historically "underfunded" will get the biggest boost from the extra cash.

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said there will be "winners and losers" among the recipients.

"The biggest concern is over the group of schools which will receive only an inflationary increase next year," he said.

"This is because school costs are, in fact, rising above the rate of inflation, and this means many of these schools will have to make further cuts to their hard-pressed budgets."

New analysis by the NEU teaching union also suggests that all schools will suffer real-terms per-pupil funding cuts in 2020-21, compared with 2015-16.

And the union found that the cuts to schools serving the poorest pupils are more than three times as deep as those serving the wealthiest children.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: "Boris Johnson has again promised that school funding will be 'levelled up'. This is not true. A third of schools will suffer a funding cut because school costs rise faster than inflation.

"The money being put into the national funding formula is not enough to address historic underfunding.

"Even though the government identified many local authorities as suffering from significant underfunding in 2015, 147 out of 150 local authorities will have even less money in April 2020 than they did in 2015.

"The government claim laudable aims, but they must provide the funding to turn them into reality."

He was speaking shortly after the education secretary came under fire on social media for claiming that things have been "a bit tight" for schools.

Gavin Williamson, who has been in the post since July, was criticised for understating funding woes, after claiming schools need "a little bit of extra money".

He told the BBC: "I have to confess I do occasionally get it in the ear, being married to a teacher and having a brother as a teacher, that things have been a bit tight in schools and they've needed a little bit of extra money."

Defending the government's spending record, he said: "What we've seen is the biggest increase in terms of investment in schools for a generation, and every year we've seen increases in the amount of money we spend on our schools.

"We've seen rising standards in terms of children's attainment, especially children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds - that's been increasing every single year. That's good news."




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