DfE accused of ‘propaganda’ over school cuts

Government accused of setting up its own version of school cuts website in bid to deceive parents

Tes Reporter

DfE accused of ‘propaganda’ over school cuts

Ministers have been accused of spending more than £100,000 on a “propaganda” website that is “deceiving the public" over the full extent of school budget cuts.

The Sunday Mirror is reporting that the new site appears to be a bid to compete with SchoolCuts, a search engine that allows parents to look up school budget reductions.

But unlike SchoolCuts, which is run by teaching unions, the government’s website ignores the impact of inflation, increases in staff pay and other costs.

Education minister Nick Gibb confirmed that the government had spent £112,125 building the website.

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Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran, who uncovered the cost of the page using Parliamentary Questions, branded it “propaganda” – and blamed Boris Johnson’s most powerful adviser, Dominic Cummings.

Ms Moran said: “Dominic Cummings’ propaganda is doing nothing more than deceiving the public about the funding crisis that schools are facing.

“Boris Johnson’s spending plans won’t reverse school cuts because they force schools to pick up the bill for future rises in teachers’ pay. Meanwhile, parents and teachers are still buying basic supplies out of their own pockets.

“Rather than listening to Dominic Cummings and splashing out hundreds of thousands of pounds on social media and websites for a quick press hit, Ministers should listen to Liberal Democrats and use March’s Budget to fully reverse school cuts.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We are giving schools the biggest funding boost in a decade, investing in the future talent and supporting the next generation.

“We have launched our own school funding website so that parents and the wider public can easily access the amount each school is attracting following our funding announcement, in a user-friendly format. This information was already in the public domain.”

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