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Mon, 28 September 2020

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Boris Johnson unveils £2.2bn school funding boost — but Labour say kids will still be worse off than in 2010

Boris Johnson unveils £2.2bn school funding boost — but Labour say kids will still be worse off than in 2010

The Prime Minister said kids should receive a ‘superb’ education ‘regardless of which school they attend’. (Image: PA)

3 min read

Boris Johnson has pledged a £2.2billion funding boost for schools in England, as Labour warned that institutions would still be worse off than they were a decade ago.

The Prime Minister said children should benefit from a “superb education” no matter where they live as he confirmed that secondary schools will get a £150 per pupil funding boost this year, while primaries will see a £250 increase.

That means per-pupil school funding now sits at £5,150 in secondaries and £4,000 in primaries.

Mr Johnson said: "Every child deserves a superb education - regardless of which school they attend, or where they happened to grow up.

“That is why we are providing additional funding now and for the future for every school - with those historically underfunded receiving the greatest increase.”

He added: “I want to again thank teachers, childcare workers and support staff for the brilliant work they have done throughout the pandemic, and for the preparations underway to welcome back all children from September.

“Our £1 billion covid catch-up package, on top of these increases in per pupil funding, will help head teachers support those who have fallen behind while out of school, and deliver a superb education for all children across the country.”

The move comes after the Government vowed a £1bn package to help tackle the impact of lost teaching time on England’s young people during the coronavirus pandemic.

That fund will see £650 million shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year, with head teachers asked to use the money for  “evidence-based interventions” to support learning, “particularly small group tuition for whoever needs it“.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This year has been incredibly challenging for schools, teachers, and students due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with everyone working in education going to incredible lengths to support children and ensure they can get back to the classroom.

“Not only are we confirming another year of increased and better targeted funding for our schools, but with our transformative national funding formula we are making sure the money is distributed fairly across the country so all schools can drive up standards.”

The move to up schools funding has been given a cautious welcome by the Local Government Association, which represents councils.

Judith Blake, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “This funding is good news and will help schools plan and budget for next year, which has become even more vital due to the extra challenges caused by coronavirus.”

But she added: “Councils continue to face immense demand pressures in providing vital care and support for children and young people with SEND [special education needs] and are running increasing deficits on their high needs budgets which finance SEND services.

“Following extra SEND funding for last year, councils need urgent clarification that there will be additional funding for SEND this year at least to meet the unprecedented rise in children and young people needing support.”

Meanwhile Labour flagged analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which has said the catch-up package previously unveiled by the Government will amount to just £80 per child.

And the think tank has said the extra money will still leave spending per pupil three percent below its 2010 level.

Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green said: “Additional funding for schools is necessary and welcome, but it was this Conservative government that cut school budgets for the first time in a generation, and only began to provide additional investment due to tireless campaigning from parents, school staff, and the Labour Party.”

She added: “The fact is schools will still be worse off in 2023 than they were in 2010 under these plans, as a direct result of the Conservatives’ decision to cut school budgets.
 
“Far more must be done for every child to have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

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