School Funding

Thank you for contacting me about school funding.

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. Encouragingly, recent figures from the OECD confirm that our schools get more government funding, per pupil, than schools in international counterparts such as Germany, France and Japan.

Alongside additional funding going into schools, I am exceptionally proud that 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. I welcome the fact that the Education Secretary is continuing to address historic injustices.

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.

I welcome the fact that the Department for Education has announced the biggest pay increase for teachers since 2010. The 3.5 per cent increase to the main pay range builds on last year's 2 per cent uplift, raising starting salaries significantly and increasing the competitiveness of early career pay. I am pleased that these increases will be fully funded, supported by a new teachers' pay grant totalling £508 million. HM Treasury has also recently published changes to the Teachers' Pension Scheme. There will be a consultation, and it is the Government's firm intention to fully fund schools for the additional pressure that the pension contributions place on their budget, ensuring that the core schools budget continues to be protected.

Education Ministers recognise that, despite the protection of the overall schools budget, there have been cost pressures that have affected schools in recent years. As a result, the Department for Education has launched a Supporting School Resource Management guide which provides schools with practical advice on savings that can be made on non-staffing spending. One of the tools available is the financial benchmarking service which helps schools compare their spending on a wide range of costs with that of similar schools, and to share good practice. School leaders and governors can use it to identify where they can make savings, directing the maximum resource into good quality teaching.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.