Schools face uncertainty as new funding boost creates multimillion pound black hole

Education leaders are questioning what lies in store over the next academic year after the education secretary makes an additional £1.3bn available to spend on core schools funding. 

The announcement comes on the back of months and months of campaigning over funding shortages, as schools across England were forced to make £3bn of cuts. 

However, this latest announcement has revealed a £1.3bn boost over the next two years that will result in schools funding being £2.6bn higher in 2019-20 than in 2017-18. 

Education secretary Justine Greening announced the decision yesterday and confirmed that the money will be freed up from within the existing education budget - not from any new money from the Treasury. 

This has sparked concerns from people right across the nation as they ask where these extra funds are coming from. 

Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner accused the government of "taking from one hand and putting it in with the other", while Labour colleague and Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said the investment was "nothing more than a sticking plaster."

While education leaders welcome the eventual response to the campaigns, many are wary of celebrating too soon. 

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The additional investment is a step in the right direction and an acknowledgment of the huge level of concern around the country on this issue. We now look forward to working with the government to ensure that all schools receive the funding that they need.schools1.jpg

“We are concerned that this is money saved from elsewhere in education budget and not ‘new’ money from the Treasury and we will be examining the implications.

“The government must also urgently address the severe underfunding of post-16 education which has put sixth forms and colleges under huge financial pressure and led to severe cutbacks.”

In addition to the funding boost, education secretary Justine Greening also confirmed that a new National Funding Formula will be introduced in 2018 in a bid to put a stop to the "postcode lottery" of existing schools funding.  

Ms Greening said: "Fairer schools funding – backed by today’s additional investment – will deliver the biggest improvement to the school funding system for well over a decade. It will mean an increase in the basic amount that every pupil will get, protected funding for those with high needs and will ensure every local authority is in a position to give schools a cash increase through the new formula.

"This means that, with teachers and schools across the country, we can continue to raise standards and give every child the best possible education, and the best opportunities for the future."

According to the announcement, the new funding formula will increase the basic amount that every pupil will attract, it will allow for gains of up to three per cent per pupil for underfunded schools over the next two years, it will provide at least a 0.5% a year per pupil cash increase for every school in 2018-19 and 2019-29, and will continue to protect funding for pupils with additional needs.

Mr Barton said: “We welcome the additional funding for schools pledged by the government today and its continued commitment to the introduction of a national funding formula.

“It is right to bring in a new formula in order to iron out the inconsistencies which have led to a postcode lottery in the way that school funding is distributed around the country.

“The government has recognised that this can only be truly fair to schools if the overall level of funding is sufficient."

July 18, 2017

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