A word in your ear: Gove hints that schools funding will remain secure in Budget - 19 March 2013
Heads and teachers could be forgiven for awaiting tomorrow's Budget with some trepidation.
The schools budget is currently ringfenced, offering protection against funding cuts for the duration of this parliament. However, several prominent members of the Cabinet are understood to be unhappy that their departments have borne the brunt of cuts, and feel that the Department for Education should share in the pain, as should other budgets afforded similar protection, such as those for the NHS and overseas aid.
But in addressing delegates at the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference in London last Friday, education secretary Michael Gove gave the strongest hint yet that the schools budget will remain intact.
After stressing that he didn't want to "circumscribe [Chancellor George Osborne's] freedom of manoeuvre", Mr Gove continued: "The Prime Minister was pretty clear last week, when one or two of my colleagues were floating imaginative suggestions about how budgets could be restructured.that those areas around which we have a ringfence, the NHS and schools - not the whole education budget, sadly - but schools and overseas aid would be protected."
Mr Gove said there were "101 reasons" why the status quo should remain, adding: "I am keen, David Laws is keen, lots of people in the coalition are keen, not to go back on that."
While it might be premature for school leaders to breathe a sigh of relief, this will perhaps help them to sleep a little more soundly tonight. However, Mr Gove's reminder that post-16 education is not afforded the same protection could be reason enough for those in the FE sector to have a wakeful night.
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