NGA comments on Budget ‘investment boost’ for Education

07/03/2017

The National Governors’ Association has learned this week's Budget will include an 'investment boost' of over half a billion pounds for education. The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has today confirmed: 

  • The extension of the free schools programme, with investment of £320 million for 140 new free schools 

  • £216 million of capital funding to help rebuild and refurbish existing schools
  • The expansion of the current 'extended rights' entitlement for children who access free home-to-school travel to cover selective schools
  • A new education white paper to be published in the coming months.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: "Investing in education and skills is the single most important thing that we can do to equip our children for the future. We are not starting from scratch; we have protected the core schools budget, which stands at over £40 billion this year, and these announcements take the next steps in giving parents greater choice in finding a good school for their child, whatever their background."

In response to this announcement, Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said: “It is disappointing that there is nothing in this statement about increasing the amount of money for each pupil, especially given the urgency of the school funding crisis and the range of organisations, across the education sector, calling on the chancellor to deliver the investment schools desperately need. 

“While on paper the government is giving more money than ever before, everyone knows it does not address the fact that the pupil population is increasing and costs are rising for schools.

"It is particularly galling that pots of money can be found for projects which are not supported by the vast majority of the education sector, such as increasing selection, when schools are being told there is nothing available to cover rising costs.

“We agree with the Chancellor that investing in education and skills is the most important thing that we can do to equip our children for the future. Therefore we need to ensure there is the enough in the basic budget for every pupil in England to secure a good education – a blind spot for the Department for Education. While they work it out, we are calling for an immediate addition of 3% to the base amount for pupils.

“Although investment in school buildings is welcome, it will not solve the issues presented to school governors and trustee every day; what’s needed is revenue funding. But even this £216 million falls short of the £6.7 billion need to return all to a satisfactory or better condition, according to the Department’s own property data survey. Furthermore, the government must ensure that any additional funding is available to all schools on the basis of need - rather than just those planning to become grammar schools.”

Notes:

Press enquires to mark.gardner@nga.org.uk

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