Funding at heart of Tory manifesto offer for schools

Billions in extra school funding and teacher pay rise set out in Conservative plans

John Roberts

The Conservatives have unveiled their plan for schools in their new manifesto.

A boost for school funding is at the heart of the Conservative party's plans for education, its new manifesto reveals.

The party's plans also include its commitment to increasing teachers' starting salaries to £30,000.

These spending plans – already announced before the general election – are the main pledges on education in the Tories' manifesto published today.

The Conservatives said the increase in teacher pay would come from a £14 billion increase in schools funding – but this actually amounts to £7.1 billion extra by 2022-23 once double and triple counting has been removed.

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The Conservatives have pledged that per-pupil funding levels will be at least £5,000 for each secondary school pupil and at least £4,000 for each primary school pupil.

The manifesto includes plans for the creation of a £3 billion “national skills fund”.

It also includes pledges to 

  • Back headteachers on discipline and back their use of exclusions.
  • Support Ofsted as a serving a valuable purpose in improving standards and behaviour.
  • Create an arts premium to boost enriching activities in secondary school.
  • Help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying.
  • Create more “great schools”, build more free schools and support innovation such as maths schools.
  • Deliver more places for pupils with SEND.
  • Intervene at  schools with “entrenched underperformance.”
  • Expand alternative provision schools for those who have been excluded.
  • Invest in primary PE teaching.

The Tories are the last of the main three parties to publish their manifesto, following Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has previously revealed the Conservatives' plans to increase school funding by £7.1 billion amounts to £4.3 billion in real terms between next year and 2022-23.

It also said that Labour’s pledge of an extra £10.5 billion for schools over the next three years amounts to only £7.5 billion when inflation is taken into account.

The Liberal Democrats manifesto said the party would provide an “emergency cash injection” of £4.6 billion next year – nearly double the package promised by the Conservatives of an extra £2.6 billion for 5-16 education in 2020-21.

The IFS's Luke Sibieta said both the Lib Dem and Conservative amounts were sufficient to reverse the real-terms cuts to school funding (of around 8 per cent) since 2009, with the Lib Dems offering slightly more.

However, he said the Labour plans provided a 15 per cent increase in spending per pupil between now and 2022.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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