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Where has all the money gone?

The government insists that schools have never had it so good in terms of funding, yet headteachers up and down the country are being forced to cut jobs and subjects. Charlotte Santry investigates why, despite a real influx of cash, schools are now struggling to balance the books

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Imagine working in a schools system that had seen its annual budget grow by nearly £10 billion over 12 years.

And in which per-pupil spending had more than doubled in primaries and nearly doubled in secondaries – in real terms, after inflation – in just 20 years.

This might sound fanciful in England, where schools are becoming used to rounds of redundancies and curriculum cuts.

But this is, in fact, the reality here today. The same schools that are frantically tightening their belts and laying off staff have also experienced a prolonged continuous funding boom, lasting nearly two decades.

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