The government has cut £384m originally promised to schools in England amid a funding crisis in the education system.
The investment was pledged to schools to fund a plan to convert all schools into academies last year, but when the government made a U-turn on the policy, the Treasury took back the extra funding.
Education ministers had told MPs in April 2016 that there was £500m available for the government’s academy policy, but the plan was abandoned after a rebellion by Conservative backbench MPs. Now the Department of Education says most of the extra funding has been swallowed back up by the Treasury and will not be made available for schools.
Head teachers described the cuts as “outrageous” at a time when schools are already struggling to make ends meet, and warned that the lack of funds could force a four-day week.
The cut will add to the financial pressure on England’s schools, which analysis by National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) shows that “by 2020 the education system will be running short to the tune of £3bn”. The report goes on to say that the cuts will affect 98% of schools and result in “a £339 loss for every primary age pupil and a £477 loss for every child in secondary school”.
ASCL Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe describes the funding gap for schools:
“The problem is that school funding per pupil has now been frozen for many years in most areas of the country. Costs have risen significantly and are continuing to do so. The government is trying to slice up a cake which is too small. It needs to put more money into the system and make education a political priority.”