William Eichler 04 March 2022

Extra £4.7bn for schools unlikely to cover cost pressures

Extra £4.7bn for schools unlikely to cover cost pressures image
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.

The Department for Education (DfE) ‘has little assurance’ that the extra £4.7bn committed for school funding in the 2021 spending review will cover the cost pressures that schools are facing, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned.

The PAC has found that schools are being forced to cut staff, drop subjects from the curriculum, and reduce the support system for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to cope with financial pressures.

In a new report published today, the PAC warn that more-deprived schools, measured by proportion of children eligible for free school meals, are ‘faring worse’ than less-deprived schools under the DfE’s new funding system.

The committee also warned that some academy trusts are building up large reserves which means a significant amount of funding is not being spent on educating pupils currently in school.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said that the Government was too reliant on national figures that indicate schools are in reasonable financial health and is overlooking what the PAC report describes as the ‘significant variation and challenges for individual schools’.

‘DfE’s airy assurances about the healthy books of academies in particular mask some cruel divides between the haves and have nots – unacceptable differences in life chances for our children and young people from the get-go, through no fault of their own,’ she said.

‘But we see the Department’s apparent disregard for the inequalities exposed and exacerbated in the pandemic in the catch-up provision debacle, and in all the children and their families still struggling, years after the promised review, with the poor provision for special educational needs and disabilities.

‘Rather than the Department blithely looking for laurels to rest on it must grasp that it’s not ok for any group of our children to be abandoned in the system that it oversees.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said: 'Investment in schools is rising – we have confirmed an overall £4.7bn increase to the core school budget by 2024-25 and will continue to deliver year on year, real terms per pupil increases, including a 5% real terms per pupil boost in 2022-23.

'Schools across the country continue to have high standards of financial management and governance, with the latest published data showing that 95.9% of academy trusts and 91.6% of maintained schools have balanced accounts. We take appropriate action where necessary to support all trusts and schools with this.

'We also continue to improve our School Resource Management offer of guidance, tools, and direct support which is available to all state schools to help them target their resources to support pupils.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Team Support Worker

Leicestershire County Council
£20,856
An exciting opportunity has arisen to work to assist in the coordination to support the management of a comprehensive countywide Team Support Service. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Assertive Inreach Worker

Leicestershire County Council
£22,575
We now have an exciting opportunity to join our team working as an Assertive Inreach Worker. Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Assistant Early Education Funding Officer

City of Bradford MDC
£22,129 - £24,920
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Intelligence and Sufficiency Service to work within the Early Education Funding team. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Support worker

Northumberland County Council
£20,444
Do you want a challenging and rewarding career with real opportunities to change the lives of people in Northumberland? Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Lawyer/Senior Lawyer Prosecutions

City of Bradford MDC
£36,371 - £47,665
Are you looking for a varying legal role where you can help make a true difference? Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.