Funding per pupil in UK schools will be brought back to 2010 levels over the next three years, the Chancellor announced.
That means an extra £ 4.7 billion for schools in England by 2024-2025 and a £ 1,500 increase in money per child, Rishi Sunak said.
But it won’t cover the 9% drop in funding since 2009 – the biggest cut in 40 years.
The chancellor has also pledged an extra £ 2 billion for education recovery from Covid.
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This brings Covid recovery spending from 2019 to nearly £ 5 billion, Sunak said in its budget statement.
Wage increases funded?
The recovery fund is far below what education unions and former recovery czar, Sir Kevan Collins, said it was needed: around £ 15bn.
And the injection of money into basic school funding is unlikely to meet the hopes of teachers and school leaders in the largest unions.
The expenditure will also have to cover any increase in teachers’ salaries, signaled with the announcement of the lifting of the public sector salary freeze.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and University Leaders, said: “Even in the best case analysis, this still does not represent growth in school funding for 15 years and this commitment does not address the harsh reality in education between 16 and 19 years old, where the learning rate is too low.
“What we do know is that school and university budgets are very small and the financial situation continues to be extremely difficult.
“The additional funding for education recovery following the Covid pandemic is nowhere near what is needed.
“Alongside other educational organizations and schools, we presented a proposal in August for an additional £ 5.8 billion over the next three years, with a particular focus on supporting disadvantaged young people.”
Joint Secretary General of the National Education Union, Kevin Courtney, said: “Taking so long to restore the cuts made since 2010 shouldn’t be a source of pride for any government, but embarrassment.”
A recent instant survey of 1,500 heads for the National Association of School Leaders (NAHT) found that nearly a third were already making budget cuts last year, with 35% planning to make cuts this academic year.
Paul Whiteman, secretary general of the NAHT, said, “Children and young people have been severely affected by the pandemic. The government has made bold claims about” leveling “and” no children left behind. “The investment announced today does not satisfy those. future goals or needs of the country.
“The government-announced increase in spending per pupil brings us back to 2010 levels. This is not a boast, as it represents a failure to invest in children’s futures for over a decade.
“Schools will do their best with what they are given, as they always do. It is important for schools to be able to spend their recovery money flexibly on programs that work best for the neediest children in their schools. “.
There was an extra £ 2 billion surprise for the recovery of education in England in today’s budget, bringing the total so far to around £ 5 billion. This will be welcomed, but it falls far short of the more substantial £ 10 to £ 15bn demanded by education charities, trade unions and former government adviser Sir Kevan Collins.
They pointed to a disadvantage gap that widened during the pandemic. Schools facing rising costs from heating bills, national insurance and teacher salaries will be disappointed that overall spending per pupil is not getting a bigger increase. Instead, the Chancellor confirmed that by 2024-25, spending per pupil in English schools will be brought back, in real terms, to the same level as in 2010.
Funding has also been confirmed to increase the number of places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The Chancellor also announced an additional £ 170 million by 2024-25 in funding paid to daycare and early childhood service providers for state-supported daycare places.
Neil Leitch, of the Early Years Alliance, welcomed the extra money but said, “As always, however, the devil is in the details and we await further confirmation on how exactly this funding will translate into rate hikes for the industry in the coming years. years. .
“While the annual level of investment our industry is set to receive over the next three years will result in a higher increase in upfront rights funding rates than we have seen in recent years, there is still an incredibly pathway. long to go to recoup the £ 2.60 per hour funding gap that government cost calculations have revealed.
“Furthermore, we know that for many daycare centers, preschools and childcare assistants, even staying afloat until next April will be a real struggle. As such, we urge the government to look into what short-term emergency support can be. be given to those suppliers already on the verge of closure.
- School funding
- State schools
- Budget 2021
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