Johnson promises more schools funding from 'day 1'

Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson also pledges support for parents wanting to set up SEND free schools

Helen Ward

Boris Johnson, prime minister, FE, Further education, FE funding, Johnson PM, Johnson Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to become the next prime minister, has said that education would get more funding “from day 1” under his leadership.

Mr Johnson told Sky News political interviewer Sophy Ridge that there was money available for education.

In a separate interview, Conservative leadership rival Jeremy Hunt said that education would be a “social mission” for him.

“I think education is the single most important thing that we Conservatives believe in,” Mr Johnson said in a pre-recorded interview shown on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday show. “In the sense that it is the tool that every kid should have to make the most of their talents and their opportunities, and a great education is the job of the state to provide to absolutely everybody.

“What’s been happening in the UK over the last few years is that too many schools have been falling behind in their per capita provision. So what I want to do, day one, is level up and make sure everybody – primary schools and secondary schools – get the funding they need.”

When launching his campaign, Mr Johnson also said the government should "do more to fund our amazing FE colleges, which have all too often been forgotten".

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More support for SEND?

Mr Johnson said that he planned to give more support for special needs education. This comes after the government was challenged in the High Court last week, over its funding decisions for special needs education.

“We are also announcing today something for special educational needs schools as well,” Mr Johnson told Ms Ridge. “What we want to do is give parents the ability, where they think there’s a need, to go for special education needs schools, for free schools, and we will back that up, we will support them, because I think very often local authorities need that extra help to make sure they have enough provision nearby.”

When asked it if this means more money, he said: “It will, but it is part of our overall package of about £4.6 billion.”

Schools 'cash available'

When questioned about spending, Mr Johnson replied that: “What is certainly true is there is cash available.”

Mr Hunt, who is also running for prime minister, appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One today. In an interview dominated by questions over Brexit, Mr Hunt did say that education would be a “social mission” for him.

“As health secretary, I campaigned very hard for extra money the NHS,” Mr Hunt told Mr Marr. “I’d like our new social mission to be the education system, I do think they need some more resources there.”

Today's interviews come as it has been reported that Theresa May has said she “still has work to do” in her final weeks in office.

Ms May has been at odds with chancellor Philip Hammond over her spending intentions, including a “multi-billion pound programme” for schools and colleges, before she leaves Downing Street.

And there have been reports that Mr Hammond was prepared to resign over plans that could tie the hands of her successor.

'Government is continuing'

The prime minister has already announced a package of measures to improve mental health support and reform planning processes to prevent people being forced to live in "tiny homes".

When asked whether she could justify the policy announcements made as the clock ticks down to 24 July, when she leaves office, Ms May told reporters accompanying her at the G20 summit in Japan: "Look, government is continuing.

"I've still got work to do as prime minister until I hand over to my successor."

She added that it was "important that we continue to take decisions that are the right decisions for this country".

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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