Despite increases, SEND funding faces a £2bn annual shortfall. This means inadequate provision, children educated in inappropriate settings, and over 1,000 children not receiving any education at all.
The 2010s was a lost decade for the education sector. School spending fell by over 9 per cent per pupil.
The Government’s 2019 Spending Round gave the education sector £7.1bn by 2022-23. This was a reasonable start but fell short of the £12.6bn needed to restore funding to 2015 levels. Over ¾ of schools still have less funding per pupil than in 2015-16.
The NEU is increasingly worried about funding distribution. Money is being funneled to proportionately more well-off areas and schools. The NEU is not arguing that these areas and schools don’t need more money, but not at the expense of others.
Covid 19 adds more uncertainty. The Government will be tempted to use this crisis to cut public spending and keep austerity.
It’s so important we maintain our energy and commitment to protecting funding for every school and every child.
Watch this short video about school funding
The NEU submitted its Comprehensive Spending Review response to the Treasury on 24 September 2020. The CSR covers the period to 2023-24 for revenue funding, and 2024-25 for capital funding and sets out proposals for increased spending on children and education in three key areas:
- Addressing child poverty
- Restoring education funding and addressing the unequal distribution of recent funding increases
- Implementing a national recovery plan for education which tackles the legacy of this year’s disruption to education
The Government knows that lack of funding is putting schools and colleges under great pressure. Class sizes are rising, subjects are being dropped, SEND support is disappearing and inadequate pay is making the staffing crisis worse. All of this is happening just to balance the books.
The £7.1 billion already promised for schools over the next 3 years should have been increased. It is welcome but it falls well short of the £12.6 billion needed to replace the cuts since 2015, let alone provide a world-class education for every child. 83% of schools will be worse off this April in real terms than in 2015. Maintained nurseries continue to survive hand to mouth, with many under threat of closure, and 16-19 education continues to suffer as well. The additional capital funding for FE colleges is welcome but, with almost 4000 schools in need of immediate repair, we greatly regret the Government’s neglect of schools capital funding.
Missing from the Chancellor’s ‘plan for prosperity’ is any recognition that 4.1 million children in our country are currently trapped in poverty. With the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicting that a further 1.1 million children will be living in poverty by 2022 it is extremely disappointing that there has been no indication today of a Government strategy to end child poverty.