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School funding announcement is attempt to “pull wool over people’s eyes”

by burylibdems on 18 July, 2017

Justine Greening has announced £1.3bn of additional funding for schools that she has said will come from “efficiencies” from within the education budget.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary Layla Moran said: “This is a desperate attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Instead of providing the £4bn of extra funding promised in their manifesto, the Conservatives are recycling cash from the education budget. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Schools are still facing cuts to their budgets once inflation and increasing class sizes are taken into account. Children only get one go at education. We need to invest more in our schools to ensure that no child is left behind.”

The money includes cutting £280m cut from the free schools budget and £315m from “healthy pupils” projects. The DFE is promising £416m extra for schools from `savings” in 2018-19 and a further £884m in 2019-20.

A joint statement from the NUT and ATL teachers’ unions accused the government of “smoke and mirrors”. “Whilst any extra money is welcome this isn’t enough to stop the huge cuts that schools are making,” said the teachers’ unions.

They pointed to evidence from the National Audit Office and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which warned of £3bn funding gap and schools facing an 8% real-terms budget cut.
During the election, the Conservatives had promised an extra £1bn per year, which on top of planned increases, would have meant the core schools budget rising by about £4bn in 2021-22.
Most of this extra funding was going to come from scrapping free meals for all infants, a policy which was subsequently ditched.

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