Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Another broken promise

Despite months of denial and prevarication, government ministers have finally had to concede that they are breaking their promises on protecting the NHS – it will have a cut in cash resources, let alone real terms, next year; it is unsurprising that waiting times and waiting lists are rocketing, and targets are not being met – and in housebuilding – there is no chance of 1 million new homes being built in this parliament as David Cameron claimed.

So, it’s now time to reveal this government’s latest broken promise – to protect the schools’ budget.

Both the National Audit Office and the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies have now confirmed that there will be an “8.0% real-terms reduction in per-pupil funding for mainstream schools between 2014-15 and 2019-20”.  This equates to around £3bn worth of savings that schools will be forced to make.

For many schools, the problem will be exacerbated by the implementation of the National Funding Formula. In December, the government said that 10,740 schools (54%) were set to gain extra money, while 9,128 (46%) will lose money from this redistribution. These changes are to be phased in from 2018.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has commissioned its own research and this suggests that the combination of the national funding cut and the redistribution will mean that
  • 98% of schools will have per-pupil funding cut,
  • the average cut for a primary school will be £87,117, with the average loss per primary school pupil being £339, and
  • the average cut to a secondary school will be £405,611 with the average loss per secondary school pupil being £477.
In my Sheffield South East constituency, the NUT estimates that schools will have a funding cut between 2013 and 2019 of about 8% on average.  Overall, Sheffield schools will be more than £22 million pa worse off in 2019/20 than they are this year.

In NE Derbyshire and Chesterfield, school budgets are predicted to fall by an average 4-7% - slightly lower than the national average cut; in Rotherham, it’s a 12% cut. As about 80% of a school’s budget goes on staff, it is inevitable that there will be reductions in teaching and teaching assistant staff in most schools.

You can see the expected outcome for every school at