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Government announces £1.3bn for schools funding

Unions welcome funding but say it is not enough to address financial difficulties faced by schools

Published on 18th July 2017

An additional £1.3 billion for schools has been announced by the education secretary.

Justine Greening revealed an additional £1.3billion for schools over two years - meaning schools funding will be £2.6 billion higher. She has also announced plans for a new national funding formula.

In an oral statement to Parliament, Justine Greening said the additional investment would help deliver historic reforms to the funding system, balancing fairness and stability for schools.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “Fairer schools funding – backed by today’s additional investment – will deliver the biggest improvement to the school funding system for well over a decade. It will mean an increase in the basic amount that every pupil will get, protected funding for those with high needs and will ensure every local authority is in a position to give schools a cash increase through the new formula.”

“This means that, with teachers and schools across the country, we can continue to raise standards and give every child the best possible education, and the best opportunities for the future,” she added.

The £1.3billion announced today - £416million in 2018-19 and £884million in 2019-20, on top of the core school budget set in the last spending review - means schools funding will be £2.6billion higher in 2019-20 compared to 2017-18. This funding boost has been found from within the Department for Education’s budget, rather than through increased taxes or more debt.

The Education Secretary also confirmed today that the new national funding formula will:

  • Increase the basic amount that every pupil will attract in 2018-19 and 2019-20;
  • Allow for gains of up to 3% per pupil for underfunded schools for the next two years;
  • Provide at least a 0.5% a year per pupil cash increase for every school in 2018-19 and 2019-20; and
  • Continue to protect funding for pupils with additional needs, as proposed in the consultation published in December.

Ms Greening said alongside this investment in our schools, it is vital that school leaders strive to maximise every pound they spend to achieve the best outcomes for all their pupils and best promote social mobility. Increased support will be available to school leaders to help them focus their resources, including offering individual schools access to expert advisors so they can receive tailored guidance.

Local authorities will continue to set a local formula for individual schools’ budgets in 2018-19 and 2019-20, in consultation with schools in the area. Spending plans beyond 2019-20 will be set in a future Spending Review.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary designate of NAHT, the union for school leaders said: “School leaders will welcome any additional funding for schools, but the funding announcement is below the £2 billion a year extra schools need to address real terms cuts.

“NAHT has been campaigning for several months to press the government to fund education fully and fairly. It’s clear that the Department for Education has listened to these concerns, and is doing its bit to address the funding gap. However, the Treasury is not backing this up with new, additional funding. As we know, efficiency savings can only go so far in addressing the fact that there is not enough money in the system.

“We look forward to hearing more detail on the funding formula. This statement offers many more questions than answers. This is a step in the right direction, but there is a long way to go to ensure all schools are getting the funding they need,” he added.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union added: “This appears to be a recycled announcement of recycled money, reflecting previous ministerial statements.
 
“It is unclear whether this funding will be new money, or simply existing school funding which is to be recycled.
 
“There is no guarantee that it will be sufficient to ensure that the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledge, that no school will lose out because of the National Funding Formula, will be met,” she said.

A joint statement from ATL, NUT, GMB and Unison said: “The government's funding announcement is disappointing and a return to smoke and mirrors statements on school funding.  Whilst any extra money is welcome this isn’t enough to stop the huge cuts that schools are making.”

“The calculations published on our organisations' School Cuts website showed that under the Conservative Party's manifesto plans for school funding, schools faced a loss of £11.6 billion in real terms between 2015/16 and 2021/22.”

“The extra money pledged today is not sufficient to make up this loss.  The government says it will ensure that no school faces losing funding in cash terms.  In fact, inflation will mean that most schools will be significantly worse off in real terms.”

“Schools are already making cuts in resources, curriculum choices and activities for students and in teaching and support staff posts.  The General Election showed that education funding is hugely important to voters.  The government has clearly recognised that its original plans were unacceptable.  We are now calling on the government to find further additional funding to protect all schools in real terms and avoid these damaging cuts to children's education,” the statement concluded.

 

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