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Friday, November 27, 2015

We need to start telling the truth about education funding

Having had a little more than 24 hours to reflect upon the chancellor's autumn budget statement for 2015, I thought I would let off a little steam here.

You cannot claim (as they do in section 11.8) to be,

"protecting the schools' budget in real terms"

when in the next line you are, 

"making around £600 million savings from the Education Services Grant (ESG) and supporting schools to realise efficiencies"

That is the same as saying that you are protecting the NHS and ensuring that staff salaries rise with inflation... but henceforward doctors and nurses and patients will have to pay for their own scalpels, dressings, medicines, training, management, financial control, audit etc. etc.

You see there is a lot of detail in those three little letters E, S & G which currently represent about 2.5% of the budget of all of the academy trusts in the country.  It's the money that LAs and MATs get over and above the School Budget Share which is supposed to pay for the school-led system that we are all building.  It works out at £87 per pupil per year and in return for it people like me are personally and criminally liable for keeping children and schools: safe, solvent, legally complaint, structurally sound and educationally improving.  It compares with approx £18-34 per child per day (between £3,500 and £6,500 per year) that we are funded to actually teach children and run primary schools. So it is a very small sum but an important one.

The statement goes on to say that the DfE will consult on reducing, 

 "the local authority role in running schools and remove a number of statutory duties. "

But I notice they are not going to look at a significant reduction in the obligations upon academies.

It's not that we didn't know that austerity was coming.  It would just be nice to be told openly.  If we have to take 8-10% out of education over this parliament then say so and don't dress it up as an increase.

We seem to be heading from a school-led system to a school-funded system...