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Education policy ‘confused and contradictory’

Education policy ‘confused and contradictory’


2 min read Partner content

The Government should abolish the ring-fence around the schools budget, according to think tank Reform.

In a new report it said ring-fenced funding is preventing schools from thinking hard about how best to use their budgets.

“Research shows that headteachers should focus their resources on improving the quality of teachers rather than employing teaching assistants or keeping class sizes small,” it said.

“The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that average departmental spending will fall by around 18% between 2010-11 and 2017-18 in real terms. Given the extremely high increases in school spending in recent years, an 18% reduction would be a reasonable ambition for school spending in the 2015 Parliament.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union said the report is “misguided and methodologically flawed”.

“It appears to be designed to create the conditions for the Coalition Government to end the current protections which are already only minimal and inadequate,” she said.

“Differential funding has long been a key, inherent part of the funding system for schools which face particular challenges, and rightly so.

“It is therefore completely meaningless to try to use this fact to conclude that there is no relationship between levels of investment in schools and the quality of educational opportunities made available to children and young people.

“Rather than slashing education budgets, countries whose education systems are regarded as high-performing and fast improving are characterised by a clear commitment to sustaining levels of investment in their education systems.”

Voice: the union for education professionals – expressed concern about some of the "sweeping generalisations" in the report.

General Secretary Deborah Lawson said: “There may be some scope for savings in some situations, but what might be the case in a large secondary school with economies of scale would not be the case in a small primary school.

“Greater investment in teaching is needed, but that should be in addition too, and not at the expense of, teaching assistants.

“That investment should include training for school leaders on how best to use and deploy trained teaching assistants to ensure maximum impact in the classroom – supporting pupil learning and achievement whilst freeing teachers to teach."

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