Unions comment on government announcement on school funding

The government has announced that every secondary school has been guaranteed at least £5,000 per pupil next year, and every primary school at least £3,750 per pupil

Local authorities will now be required by law to make sure every school receives the full amount of the minimum levels of funding pledged for each pupil, as set out by the Prime Minister during his first 100 days in office. Funding per pupil for primary schools will rise to £4,000 the following year.

Previously, local authorities were not required to allocate the money for schools in this way – with many schools across the country falling below the minimum levels of funding for each pupil.

These new regulations mean that all local authorities will now have to pass on the required levels of funding to every school in their area, which will help make sure that no school loses out simply because of their location or historic local rules.

Commenting on the government announcement on minimum funding levels for schools, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is great that minimum funding levels are being enshrined in legislation, but this is to do with a historic inequity in the way that school funding is distributed and not the fact that there is not enough money going into the system in the first place.

“Despite the promises that the government will reverse the cuts, the fact is that the money allocated to education over the next three years will not achieve this objective, particularly as the government expects this pot of money to also fund its proposal to increase the starting pay of teachers to £30,000.

“The reality is that the financial situation for schools and colleges will continue to be extremely challenging and the funding crisis is not over.”

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Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, added: “We welcome the government’s belated attempt to show comparable data on school funding. However, it is a great pity that the data is only available at a national level for a ten-year comparison when there is so much variation at school and local authority level. The government have not included their own measure of school costs, which are running significantly ahead of inflation.

“The government’s school funding website is of very little use to a parent wanting to understand the impact on their child’s school because it only makes a comparison between 2019-20 and 2020-21, and the figures are in cash rather than real terms. When school costs are factored in, 83% of schools will have less per pupil than they did in 2015. If parents want to know the truth about their school’s budget position they should go to www.schoolcuts.org.uk not this pale imitation.”

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