Commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s latest analysis of school funding and expenditure, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This report echoes our previous warnings about the socially divisive nature of cuts to school funding which have fallen hardest on schools with the highest number of pupils receiving free school meals. This pattern continues next year despite the real terms funding increase. A third of schools will receive less than the 3% per pupil funding rise necessary to keep up with school costs, and these schools tend to serve the most disadvantaged pupils.

“The report points out that whilst there is a £3.1bn real terms increase in the core schools budget over the next three years, less than £2.4bn of that will go to schools, and schools will have to fund a 23% increase in the starting salary of teachers from it. The funding increase will not be sufficient to bring down class sizes – the number of pupils taught in classes of more than 30 now stands at almost a million pupils.

“Government needs to listen to the evidence. Our schools and colleges are simply not being given the funding they need to deliver the education every parent child and young person expects.”