https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/18/supporting-veterans-through-higher-education/

Supporting veterans through higher education

three university students walking in a lobby area

Our latest blog today looks at how we are supporting veterans as well as school funding.

Armed Forces Covenant

Today, Thursday 18 April, we made a joint announcement with the Ministry of Defence, calling on universities to do more to support armed forces children and ex-service people by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant. This has been covered by the Mail, the Sun and the Telegraph.

The Department for Education is continuing to fund up to £5 million for two armed forces projects. The Service Leavers Scheme pays the tuition fees for ex-service people who have not previously studied at higher education level, whilst the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme provides university scholarships for children of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

We want everyone with the talent and potential, no matter their circumstances or background, to go on to university and thrive.

The scholarships offered by these two crucial higher education schemes empower those who have fought for our country, or whose parents have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Nearly 60 of our universities have signed up to delivering the Armed Forces Covenant, which provides rights for veterans and their families to access education, and I know universities such as Winchester have long had outreach programmes with their local armed forces communities. I’m sure all universities will wish to consider the benefits of being a civic university that supports armed forces families in their communities, which is why I have written urging them all to actively consider signing up to the Covenant.

School funding

Today, the Sutton Trust has released a press notice on school funding, based on a survey of 1,678 teachers. The research found that 32% of senior leaders in primary schools said they have had to cut teacher numbers to save money. This has been covered by the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Mirror.

We have protected the core schools budget overall in real terms since 2010 and put an additional £1.3 billion into core schools funding across 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 – over and above plans set out at the last spending review.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

There is more money going into our schools than ever before, and since 2017, we have given every local authority more money for every 5 to 16 year old in every school and made funding fairer across the country. There are more teachers in our schools than in 2010 and the number of teaching assistants has increased by a fifth between 2011 and 2017.

We recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and have introduced a wide range of practical support to help schools and head teachers, to help schools make the most of every pound on non-staff costs. We have also provided schools with funding for additional pressures – such as an extra £940million to cover increased pension costs for 2019/20 so state-funded schools and colleges can focus their resources on providing the best education.

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.

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