Chancellor George Osborne has delivered the Autumn statement, which contains good news for education in the UK. It protects the schools budget in real terms, enabling the per pupil rate for the Dedicated Schools Grant to be protected in cash terms. This also includes £390 million of additional funding to be given to the least fairly funded areas in 2015-2016. Additionally, the pupil premium will also be protected at current rates.
A move that wasn't expected, but that is welcomed by schools and parents alike, is the funding for universal infant free school meals. The full funding will be maintained, saving families around £400 for every infant each year.
The first ever national funding formula for schools is due to be introduced. This will make funding more transparent, and will link it to children's needs more fairly. This will end the unfair system where a child from a disadvantaged background in one school attracts half as much funding as a child in identical circumstances in another school, simply because of where they live.
This reform aims to give schools more certainty over future budgets, empowering head teachers to take decisions for the long term. A detailed consultation will be launched in 2016 and new formulae will be implemented from 2017-18.
School buildings will receive a £23 billion investment to allow for 500 new free schools, creating 600,000 school places. Over 500 schools will get funding for rebuilding and refurbishing, and addressing essential maintenance needs. The government is also investing in new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The spending review and Autumn statement provides investment of over £1.3 billion up to 2019-20 to attract new teachers into the profession, particularly into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to deliver the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), to raise educational standards for young people.
Posted by Theo Foulds