‘Crisis? What crisis?’ says the new schools commissioner

30th November 2018 at 15:01

England’s school system is not on the verge of a funding crisis, the Department for Education’s new national schools commissioner, Dominic Herrington, has insisted.

This statement – which is no doubt in line with approved government PR – won’t surprise many teachers. After all, our cash-strapped schools have been fed the “record levels of funding” line by the DfE many times already.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the UK Statistics Authority into the DfE’s claims that it was spending “record amounts” on school funding resulted in a subsequent “we must do better” statement from the department’s permanent secretary, Jonathan Slater.

Anyway, back to Herrington, a civil servant and former regional schools commissioner who took over from Sir David Carter, a former head, in the summer. In an exclusive interview, he said that he disagreed with accountants who said that academies were running out of money.

While he told Tes that there was a “big challenge” in school funding, “it’s not on the verge of insolvency or bankruptcy”.

He cited controversial comments from Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman last month claiming there was no evidence that school cuts were affecting the quality of education. He also referenced this year’s rise in Year 1 pupils passing the phonics check.

Herrington dismissed the findings of a joint Tes and National Governance Association survey in which three-quarters of governors raised concerns that funding pressures would damage the quality of education.

Speaking from his experience as a school governor, he said: “In our school, the results were the highest they have ever been last year, so I don’t think you can causally say therefore because of a governors’ survey there is, therefore, a definitive causal relationship with the quality of education.”

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now