Greening stands by manifesto pledge that no school will lose out under funding formula

But teaching union says ministers are not listening to schools' 'very real and pressing concerns' about funding

Will Hazell

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Justine Greening has said the government will stand by its manifesto pledge that no school will lose out under its national funding formula.

However, the education secretary failed to confirm how much money schools in England will receive in total over this Parliament.

Speaking this afternoon during the House of Commons debate on last week’s Queen’s Speech, Ms Greening said: “We’re going to make sure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new formula."

She said that the government was “absolutely committed to making sure that we do have fair funding across our schools".

“We had an extensive consultation that had 25,000 responses to it, which we have now gone through and we’re pulling together what it means for the right way forward,” she added.

However, the education secretary did not commit to meeting the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to increase school funding by £4 billion by 2022.

“There’s record funding already in our schools. We set out a commitment to increase that further in our manifesto and we’ll bring forward those proposals shortly,” she said.

Her words follow a comment on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning by Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, who said that “there’s going to be additional money found for schools”.

Yesterday it was announced that schools and hospitals in Northern Ireland would receive an extra £100 million over the next two years as part of the deal under which the Democratic Unionist Party will support the minority Conservative government. 

During the Queen's Speech debate, Ms Greening also commented on a Daily Mail report saying that parents had been sent "political messages" in relation to school funding by teachers during the general election campaign. 

“I think what all parents expect is for teachers and headteachers to behave professionally. I think there is a space for an important political debate, but I would question whether the way in which it is being pursued by some teachers is the right way," she said.

She added that it was “concerning that we saw what to many people felt like utterly political messages being put out inappropriately.”

Teachers' integrity 'impugned'

But Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT teaching union, said: "Justine Greening has demonstrated today in the House of Commons debate on education that she and her government are not listening to the very real and pressing concerns about school funding.

"It is wholly wrong of the education secretary to impugn the integrity of heads and teachers who are concerned about the devastating cuts which their schools face. Her remarks in the Commons today demonstrate a complete tin ear on the issue of funding.

“After a deeply disappointing Queen’s Speech last week that announced no additional resources to ease the education funding crisis, schools and colleges in England and Wales are looking on askance at a £1 billion-plus handout to Northern Ireland to prop up the Conservative government.

“All schools across the UK should be given the resources they need to deliver the high-quality education that all children and young people deserve.

“Yet again the government is choosing to ignore the voice of headteachers and parents, who know what is happening as a result of a lack of money in their schools. They will not be silenced.”

Ms Greening also confirmed that the government is unlikely to introduce major legislation on education during this Parliament. 

“Perhaps more than most departments, the legislation that we need to drive up education standards and opportunity is already in place,” she said.

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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