30th August 2019

EPI response to Prime Minister’s announcement on school funding

On Wednesday 4th September the Chancellor is set to deliver a one-year spending round setting department budgets for 2020-21.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s announcement next week, today the Prime Minister announced an additional £14 billion of funding in cash terms for primary and secondary education, between now and 2022/23.

Responding to the announcement, Jon Andrews, Deputy Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:  

“Schools will of course welcome additional investment but, as ever, we will need to look beneath the big numbers, and beyond the education budget, to see the real impact on young people in England.

The system still has several years of managing the effects of funding cuts ahead. The scale of increases is going to vary across different schools and, for individual schools, this announcement only guarantees a funding increase in line with inflation, rather than a reversal of cuts.

Those schools that have historically been ‘underfunded’ will see the largest increases. That’s likely to mean that additional funding will be disproportionately directed towards the least disadvantaged schools with the least challenging intakes, at a time when progress in closing the attainment gap has stalled and may be about to go into reverse. Increases in the number of pupils with complex special educational needs and disabilities has also put pressure on school and local authority budgets in recent years. Additional money for SEND is welcome, but questions remain about how it is distributed. Pupils in one local authority can attract significantly more or less funding than a pupil in another authority, despite having similar needs.

The Prime Minister needs to address this if he genuinely means that all children should receive a good education regardless of where they are growing up.”