More money is going into our schools than ever before and school funding is at a record high. The core schools budget has increased to £42.4 billion this year and is set to rise to £43.5 billion in 2019-20. This follows the additional £1.3 billion of funding over and above what was promised in the last Spending Review. In fact, figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies show that real terms per-pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50 per cent higher than it was in 2000. I welcome that the Autumn Budget reiterates the commitment to improving every child's education, with an additional £400 million for schools to spend on improving their facilities.
Alongside additional funding going into schools, the Government has delivered on the manifesto promise to reform the way in which schools are funded. This is an historic reform and, for the very first time, funding is being distributed based on the individual needs of every school. Schools are already benefitting from this and next year, schools that have been historically underfunded will attract up to 6 per cent more per pupil compared to 2017-18.
The calculations of the "School Cuts" campaign misrepresent the funding schools will receive, presenting historical pressures on school budgets as if they were still to occur. The Department for Education has continued to challenge the misleading claims made on their website and in the media. As a result, the campaign has backtracked on some of their claims and made changes to their website. For example, they claimed that funding has reduced in real terms in 2018-19 but had to admit they simply got their numbers wrong.
Unfortunately it appears there have been misleading claims based on poor evidence circulated to trigger campaign emails regarding school funding.
To suggest that money is being taken out of the schools system is simply incorrect. The schools budget has been protected and this year it totals over £40 billion which is the highest ever on record.
Unions completely ignore the fact that pupil numbers are rising. Because per pupil funding is protected at current rates, more pupils mean more money in our schools. Taking per pupil funding and rising pupil numbers together, the school budget will be protected in real terms overall in this parliament.
The Government has outlined and sought views on its vision for a new funding system that ends the historic postcode lottery. The existing system is unfair, opaque and outdated. The current disparities mean that a school could receive 50 per cent more funding if it were based in another part of the country. Clearly this cannot be allowed to continue.
The Department for Education has recently set out proposals for how the formula will be implemented including the impact on schools and local authorities and is seeking the views of interested parties. It has also confirmed the factors that will be used in the formula, and has invited responses to the weightings they should be given. If you would like to share your views on this I would encourage you to submit a response to stage 2 of the consultation which you can access on the following link: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-f…
The Government's fairer funding proposals will ensure that areas with the highest need attract the most funding and end the historic unfairness in the system. The national funding formula will be introduced from 2018-19.