William Eichler 18 March 2016

£560m ‘black hole’ in chancellor’s school plans

The chancellor’s plan to transform every school into an academy faces a £560m funding shortage, according to a new analysis.

In his Budget speech on Wednesday, George Osborne declared his intention to convert every primary and secondary school in the country into an academy by 2020.

‘We are going to complete the task,’ he said, ‘of setting schools free from local education bureaucracy, and we’re going to do it in this Parliament.’

An analysis of his plan by Labour shows, however, the schools system is facing a black hole of £560m.

There are 15,632 schools in England that are not yet academies, and the costs for conversion to academy status is £44,837.

There is, however, only £140m allocated to academisation, which leaves a shortfall of £560m.

‘The chancellor’s plans for education are unravelling,’ Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for education, said.

‘Schools are already facing an 8% cut to their budgets, the first time education spending has fallen since the mid-1990s.

‘This half a billion pound black hole in the education budget means that schools will be further out of pocket as a result.’

‘The chancellor needs to come clean about where this money is going to come from,’ she added.

Council leaders have also issued warnings about the plans, saying the move 'defied reason'.

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