Yesterday, Monday 25 March, the campaign group School Cuts issued a press notice on school funding, based on their own analysis, which they say shows that £5.4 billion has been cut from school budgets since 2015. This has received coverage from the Guardian, the Mirror, Schools Week and TES, but we believe that the coverage of these figures has been misleading.
It is not clear that, in fact, funding has risen in cash terms every year since 2015. Furthermore, the £5.4bn real terms shortfall that Schools Cuts present adds together their calculations in respect of three separate years (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19), and presents it as a single total. This creates a figure which is much higher than the difference between schools’ current funding and what they received in 2015-16.
A Department for Education spokesperson, said:
We believe these figures are misleading. While we recognise that schools have faced budgeting challenges, this government has prioritised school funding, while taking difficult decisions in other areas of public spending – protecting the schools budget overall for 5 to 16 year olds in real terms since 2010. School funding in England is at its highest ever level and since 2017 we have given every local authority in England more money for every pupil in every school.
Standards in our schools are rising; the attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers has narrowed since 2011; the proportion of pupils in good or outstanding schools has increased since 2010; and our primary school children have achieved their highest ever score on international reading tests.
The Secretary of State has made clear that as we approach the next spending review, he will back head teachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education.