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Budget Spending Review

Yesterday the Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the Department for Education’s settlement at the spending review 2015. For schools and colleges this means:

  • per pupil protection for the dedicated schools grant and the pupil premium
  • for 16-19 funding, protecting in cash terms the current national base rate per student over the Parliament
  • 3 million high-quality apprenticeship by 2020
  • some targeted savings from 16-19 funding, for instance from declining demographics and funding outside the national base rate per student
  • giving sixth-form colleges the option to become academies, allowing them to recover their non-business VAT costs
  • savings of around £600 million by cutting the education services grant (ESG) and supporting schools to make efficiency savings
  • £23 billion capital investment to provide over 600,000 additional school places, open 500 free schools, rebuild and refurbish over 500 schools and address essential maintenance needs
  • introducing a fair funding formula, with a detailed consultation in 2016 and implementation from 2017 to 2018
  • doubling free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours a week
  • investing over £1 billion more a year by 2019 to 2020 on free childcare places for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds

In ASCL’s statement to the media, Malcolm Trobe, ASCL Deputy General Secretary, said:

“It is important for people to understand that schools and colleges face substantial real-terms cuts despite the spending commitments made today. Extra costs of increased employer pension and National Insurance contributions amount to a five per cent extra cost this year. Further cost pressures in subsequent years will worsen this situation.

“The position is particularly grave in post-16 education where funding fell by nearly 14 per cent over the last parliament. This has led to a reduction in the number of courses that schools and colleges are able to offer and larger class sizes. Without additional funding the extra cost pressures will exacerbate an already very serious situation.

“The increase to the overall education budget announced in the CSR is largely driven by the need to provide more school places because of a surge in pupil numbers. The amount of money spent per pupil is likely to remain the same. In other words, there is no ‘extra’ money for existing pupils.

“We are extremely concerned to learn that the Government intends to cut the education services grant which pays for essential support services by around £600 million. We also question how the Education Secretary’s plans for ‘wraparound’ childcare, which were announced in October, are going to be funded as today’s spending announcement does not appear to answer that question.”