Schools in England are being promised billions more in spending over the next three years, in an announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Next year schools will receive a £2.6bn uplift, rising to £4.8bn the following year – with schools spending £7.1bn more than at present by 2022-23.

It follows a campaign by school leaders warning of worsening budget shortages.

Head teachers’ leader Geoff Barton said the extra cash was a recognition of the “severity of the funding crisis”.

The prime minister said he wanted to “ensure all young people get the best possible start in life. That means the right funding”.

 

Reversing cuts

“We should not accept the idea that there can be ‘winners or losers’ when it comes to our children’s futures,” said Mr Johnson.

“That’s why we are providing additional funding now and for the future for every school, with those historically underfunded receiving the greatest increase.”

School leaders have been protesting about funding shortages – with head teachers writing to millions of parents with warnings about schools running out of cash.

But the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says the funding increase should be enough to restore school spending to pre-austerity levels.

The independent financial think tank said the £7.1bn increase, promised in three years, will be sufficient to reverse cuts to schools of 8% over the past decade.

“This package represents a large increase in spending per pupil, taking it back to about the same level it was in 2009-10,” said Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the IFS.

“However, a 13-year period of no net growth in school spending per pupil, after inflation, still represents a significant squeeze on school budgets when considered in historical terms.”

 

Raising spending

The cash injection will include £700m extra for special needs pupils and new minimum levels of per pupil funding.

Secondary schools will have at least £5,000 per pupil from next year and from 2021 primary schools will have a minimum threshold of £4,000 per pupil.

There were already spending increases in the pipeline – such as for rising numbers of pupils – but this announcement provides additional funding above this.

It is also on top of an extra £1.5bn per year to cover rises in teachers’ pension costs.

School leaders responded with a mix of guarded welcomes and a warning that they wanted to check the details before ending their protests.

“After five years of disappointment on funding, I’m sure the prime minster would forgive us only giving this a cautious welcome,” said Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers.

“We hope that this announcement is as good as it looks,” said Mr Whiteman. But he warned it would be “disastrous if the detail did not live up to the headline”.

Source: BBC

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