Today’s news review looks at further reporting on school funding based on claims made at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders. It sets the record straight with eight key facts.
ASCL survey on school funding
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) released a survey today of 1,000 members on how they are responding to financial pressures.
Respondents made a range of claims, including that they have reduced support services and increased class sizes. This was covered on BBC Breakfast, Sky News and ITV News.
With regard to class sizes it is important to note that despite a rising population, average class sizes at both primary and secondary level have remained steady since 2010.
The average size of a class in our secondary schools is just 20.4, down from 21.5 in 2006. Meanwhile the average primary school class size is 27.1, comfortably below the limit for infant classes of 30.
Overall school funding has almost doubled in real terms since 1997. These eight key facts have gone largely overlooked in today’s coverage:
- School funding is at its highest level on record at more than £40 billion in 2016-17. As pupil numbers rise this will reach £42 billion by 2019-20
- Analysis by the Institute for Financial Studies (IFS) has shown that spending per pupil almost doubled in real terms between 1997 and 2016
- The system for distributing school funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated. Through the national funding formula we are going to ensure that schools are funded according to their pupils’ needs, rather their postcode
- The proposed National Funding Formula includes protections that will no school will face a reduction of more than more than 1.5% per pupil per year or 3% per pupil overall
- In December 2016 the National Audit Office said that schools should be able to make cost savings without affecting educational outcomes
- Our schools have built up reserves of over £4 billion and now we want to help them to ensure every penny is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible. They can already use national deals to save up to 10% on energy and over 40% for printers and photocopiers. Through our buying strategy we are supporting schools to save over £1 billion a year by 2019-20 on their non-staff spend
- Thanks to our reforms there are nearly 1.8 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010.
- This week’s Budget delivers £320 million of investment to fund 70,000 places in up to 140 new free schools – on top of the 600,000 places the Government has already committed to delivering by 2021