Schools to receive extra £2.6bn over next two years

Justine Greening
Justine Greening

The government has announced extra funding for schools of £1.3bn per year over the next two years.

Justine Greening, secretary of state for education, broke the news in the House of Commons this afternoon (July 17).

Worth Less? campaign

Worth Less? campaign

There will be no 'new' money involved.

The funding will be found by making savings in the Department for Education's existing budget, such as the free schools programme.

The announcement received a cautious initial welcome from members of the Worth Less? school funding campaign, who said they were "beginning to digest" Ms Greening's words.

A campaign spokesman added: "Crucially, schools and families need to know what the announcement means in real terms for every pupil in our care.

"Only when any additional school funding is set against rising pupil numbers and inflationary costs will we know how our school budgets are being really affected by this announcement.

"We are, however, pleased that after two years of campaigning the government finally appears to be listening to the legitimate concerns that have been raised.

"Any additional funding is welcome, as is the decision to review the efficiency of the free schools programme."

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Greening announced the extra funding for 2018/19 and 2019/20 and said: "This government believes that all children should have an education that unlocks their potential and allows them to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

"We recognise that at the election people were concerned about the over all level of funding in schools, as well as its distribuition and we are determined to listen."

In December, the government launched a second consultation into the proposed new National Funding Formula.

Ms Greening said more than 25,000 responses were received and the government would respond to the consultation in full in September.

In the meantime, she said there would be an increase in the basic amount attracted by every pupil in 2018/19 and 2019/20, a 3 per cent gain per pupil for under-funded schools, a 0.5 per cent increase per pupil for every school, and a pledge to protect funding for pupils with additional needs.

She added: "The additional funding I'm setting out today, together with the introduction of a National Funding Formula will provide schools with the investment they need to offer a world-class education to every single child."

There has so far been a mixed reception to the news from Sussex politicians.

Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, said: "Despite the best efforts of this country’s teachers, schools are struggling to cope.

"The government is promising some new funds for our schools, but in the wake of the cuts already made and with pupil numbers set to rise this increase simply isn’t enough.

"What’s clear is that the Tories are trying to alleviate pressure on them – but I know that parents and teachers won’t give up this cause until schools have the funding they need to deliver world-class education to every child in this country.”

Michael Cloake, chairman of the Children’s Select Committee at West Sussex County Council, and councillor for Worthing, said: "Following intensive work by West Sussex Conservatives highlighting this issue, today’s announcement sends a clear message that we are committed to raising standards and giving every child the best possible education and the best possible opportunities for their future.”

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