EVERY school in England will see budget cuts before 2020, even after new funding plans are put into place, Education Policy Institute (EPI) research suggests.
The Institute looks at the impact of the new national funding formula against the backdrop of financial pressures in schools. It finds even schools benefiting from the funding shake-up will see their gains wiped out by budget pressures.
The government insists schools funding is at a record £40bn level. But the EPI estimates that average losses will reach £74,000 for primary schools and £291,000 for secondary schools by 2019-20. This is because schools are bearing the brunt of unfunded rises in pay, pension and National Insurance contributions, which will account for between 6% and 11% of their budgets by 2019-20.
The report says: ‘There are unlikely to be any schools in England which will avoid a real-terms cut in per-pupil funding by 2019-20, even in areas benefiting from the new formula.’ However, the Tories promised, in their 2015 manifesto, a real-terms increase in the schools budget during this Parliament.
The manifesto added that ‘Under a future Conservative government, the amount of money following your child into school will be protected. ‘As the number of pupils increases, so will the amount of money in our schools.’
However, there is no requirement for the funding formula to be debated in the Houses of Parliament – the Secretary of State has the power to push the funding formula through. Already, Education Secretary Justine Greening has been heckled by head teachers at a conference in Birmingham.
Malcolm Trobe, interim general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘Go back to the chancellor. The overall pot of money is too small and is not sufficient to meet rising costs.’
He added: ‘This means a net loss for even those schools which appear to “gain” under the formula. As a result, the proposed level of basic funding per pupil in the formula is too low to allow schools to operate. Additional funding allocated for deprivation, low prior attainment and other additional factors, will be needed just to lessen the impact of cutbacks, rather than provide extra support, while schools which receive little additional funding will be in dire straits.’
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: ‘Despite the government’s claims to the contrary, the EPI’s report has provided independent evidence to support what the ATL has been saying for months – that schools are facing significant real-terms cuts in per-pupil funding and will need to find £3bn in savings annually by 2020.’
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said head teachers were being forced to choose between cutting subjects or cutting the school week.