Justine Greening set to make school funding announcement this afternoon

17th July 2017 at 13:03
Tes understands that the education secretary's statement to MPs is designed to have 'good news' for schools

Justine Greening is set to make an announcement about school funding this afternoon, before teachers and pupils break up for the summer holiday.

The office of Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, tweeted that the education secretary would give a “schools update” – but Tes understands that it is about school funding, and it is designed to contain “good news”.

The move follows an election in which school funding became a major issue, with teaching unions leading a campaign against projected real-terms cuts in per-pupil funding between now and 2022.

The Conservative manifesto pledged that no schools would see their budgets cut as a result of the proposed national funding formula.

But an analysis by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies found that the Conservative pledge to increase the overall school budget by £4 billion by 2022 would equate to a real-terms cut in spending per pupil of 2.8 per cent between 2017-18 and 2021-22.

Tes understands that Ms Greening had argued for the manifesto to include a guarantee that schools would not see a real-terms cut in per-pupil funding over the next five years, but was overruled.

Key election issue

Meanwhile, an analysis by polling company Survation suggested that about 750,000 votes could have been swung by the issue.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Ms Greening had demanded that the government publicly commit, before the summer holiday, to give schools an extra £1.2 billion.

Last week, she angered many teachers by announcing that they would receive an overall pay increase of 1 per cent, although a “small proportion” of those at the bottom of the main scale would see a 2 per cent rise.

The decision came despite calls from some Cabinet ministers to lift the public sector pay cap.

Although the School Teachers' Review Body had recommended the 1 per cent rise, it also outlined a series of “substantial pressures” on recruitment and retention, warning that "average starting salaries and profession-wide earnings remain considerably lower for teaching than for other graduate professions”.

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