Greening announces extra £1.3bn funding for core schools budget

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Schools and high-needs programmes are to receive an extra £1.3 billion over the next two years, Justine Greening announced as she confirmed plans to introduce a national funding formula.

The Education Secretary said the additional investment into the core schools budget would provide schools with "the investment they need to offer a world-class education to every single child".

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Greening said the Government had "recognised" people's concerns during the General Election about the "overall level of funding in schools, as well as its distribution".

Ms Greening said: "I'm confirming our plans to get on with introducing a national funding formula in 2018/19, and I can announce that this will additionally now be supported by significant extra investment into the core schools budget over the next two years.

"The additional funding I'm setting out today, together with the introduction of a national funding formula, will provide schools with the investment they need to offer a world-class education to every single child.

"There will therefore be an additional £1.3 billion for schools and high needs across 2018/19 and 2019/20, in addition to the schools budget set at spending review 2015."

Ms Greening said that as a result of the investment, core funding for schools and high needs would rise from almost £41 billion in 2017/18 to £42.4 billion in 2018/19 and £43.5 billion in 2019/20.

"It will mean that the total schools budget will increase by £2.6 billion between this year and 2019/20, and per pupil funding will now be maintained in real terms for the remaining two years of the spending review period to 2019/20," she said.

Ms Greening said this investment would increase the basic amount of funding for every pupil, with up to 3% gain per year per pupil for underfunded schools and a 0.5% increase per pupil for every school.

She added it would provide at least £4,800 per pupil for every secondary school.

Ms Greening said the extra investment would be funded entirely from savings she had identified in the Department for Education.

She told MPs that £420 million would be found from the main schools capital budget, the majority of which would come from healthy pupils capital funding.

Ms Greening said that while she "remains committed" to the free schools programme and delivering the 140 new schools announced at the last Budget, she said working more efficiently to deliver the programme could save £280 million.

"This will include delivering 30 of those 140 schools through the local authority route, rather than the free schools route," she said.

The Education Secretary said that across her department she would reprioritise £250 million in 2018/19 and £350 million in 2019/20.

Ms Greening said she would redirect £200 million from the department's central programmes towards the core schools programme.

For the next two years the national funding formula will set indicative budgets for each school, and total schools funding for each local authority will then be allocated according to the fair funding formula.

Local authorities will continue to set a local formula to decide how much each school gets, before the full introduction of the national formula.

Schools will also be expected to sign up to so-called national deals on things like energy to save money, Ms Greening said.

Ms Greening said efficiency experts will be sent into schools with the worst finances.

She added: "The significant investment we're making in schools and the reforms that we're introducing underpin our ambition for a world-class education system.

"Together they will give schools a firm foundation that will enable them to continue to raise standards, promote social mobility and to give every child the best possible education and the best opportunities for the future."

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: "What the Secretary of State has announced today is nothing more than a sticking plaster.

"Per pupil funding will still fall over the course of this Parliament unless further action is taken urgently.

"I will welcome the opportunity to protect budgets for our schools but this statement alone will do nothing of the kind."

Ms Rayner earlier said she welcomed the £1.3 billion announced by the Government but questioned if Ms Greening will protect per-pupil budgets in real terms or just the overall budget.

She said: "Astoundingly, this is all being funded without a penny of new money from the Treasury.

"Perhaps the Chancellor (Philip Hammond) didn't want to fund schools and thought that teachers and teaching assistants are simply more overpaid public servants.

"I wonder if (Ms Greening) agrees with him."

She asked Ms Greening to be "honest" with the Commons and reveal who will lose out as a result of the announcement.

Ms Rayner added: "She said the full funding formula has been delayed again, with local authorities playing a role in setting budgets until 2020.

"Is this because she has finally acknowledged the role local authorities have to play, or has she simply realised to fully implement her plans she would need to pass primary legislation - and her Government is so weak and wobbly they cannot even get new money for schools passed through this House."

 

Ms Greening replied: "I can confirm to her that we are indeed saying we're going to have per pupil (funding) real terms protected for the next two years.

"In relation to the free schools programme... by contrast, we're protecting that but we do think we can finance it in a more cost-effective way.

"She then talked about the £4 billion not realising, I think, that that was £4 billion over four years.

"Of course, I've set out £2.6 billion over two years so I think she will recognise actually that's bringing forward a faster pace - which is something to be welcomed."

Ms Greening said local authorities were always going to be used in 2018/19 as part of the transition to the new funding formula, with this now extended by a further period.