IFS report shows funding boost will barely repair impact of finance squeeze

The new IFS report has been published, and shows that schools have suffered the worst fall in spending since the 70s

According to a new Institute of Fiscal Studies report, schools and colleges across England have suffered the worst fall in spending since the 1970s.

The report states that the government’s recently-promised funding boosts will struggle to repair the financial squeeze the sector has been suffering with since 2010.

Increased spending should ‘just about reverse the eight per ent cuts in spending, per-pupil, since 2009, the IFS says.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This IFS report confirms our belief that the additional money announced in the spending round is insufficient. They point out that even after the spending round, schools still have to cope with an unprecedented 13-year long funding squeeze.

“Importantly, the report, like last year’s, draws attention to the crisis in 16-19 education which still needs an additional £1bn a year to deal with cuts.

“The report also demonstrates the government’s priorities. Funding has been removed from policies that helped reduce inequality and helped children overcome adversity.

“These services have been reduced to the point where all they do is fulfil minimum legal duties.”

Chief executive of the Association of Colleges, David Hughes, added:

“Today’s report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows the reality of a decade of cuts to colleges. The consequences of the decline in spending and real term freezes has meant fewer adult learners, squeezed budgets and lack of resource to provide the skills the country needs.

“While the chancellor’s recent spending announcement of £400m for sixth forms and colleges was welcome and a further £100m for teacher’s pensions a step in the right direction it must be followed by long-term investment to reverse ten years of continuous cuts and reform.

“Only this kind of investment will give thousands of people the opportunities they deserve.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, commented:

The IFS report provides a sober assessment of the government’s hyped-up announcements over education funding.

School and college finances will continue to be under pressure despite the increased level of investment.

The extra money for colleges and sixth forms falls a long way short of raising the funding rate for students to the level recently recommended by the House of Commons Education Committee, while the extra allocation for children with special educational needs is only about half of what is required.

The government expects the additional funding for primary and secondary schools to pay for its proposal to raise the starting salaries of teachers to £30,000 and this will absorb a significant proportion of the planned increase to the schools budget.

It should also be noted that none of these spending commitments start until 2020 and do not alleviate the current crisis in our schools and colleges.”

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