The first part of the policy promises to increase of the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022. The government announced in July 2017 an injection of £1.3 billion over two years, meaning “schools funding will be £2.6 billion higher in 2019-20 compared to 2017-18”. This is short of the £4 billion promised, but the government still has until 2022 to add to the schools budget. On this basis, the pledge could be deemed ‘in progress’ until such time as the target of a £4 billion increase is reached.
But a key detail in this pledge is the “real terms increase”. To deliver on this promise, the schools budget must increase in real terms for every year of parliament. A real terms increase is one in which the increase is higher than inflation rates; in other words, there is an increase in the actual value of the money even after inflation has accounted for.
So far, the government has fulfilled this policy promise. Department for Education statistics published in September 2018 showed:
“The planned schools budget nominally rose by £2.0 billons or 3.7 per cent since 2017-18”.
And in December 2018, the Office for National Statistics determined the 12-month inflation rate was 2.0%. So the government’s increases outstripped inflation.
Because the government promised to oversee a real terms increase in every year of the parliament it is too early to come to a judgement. For now though, this policy is ‘in progress’. We’ll keep monitoring school funding. Watch this space for updates!
Love the detail?
- Planned expenditure on schools, education and children’s services by local authorities in England, 2018-19 – Gov.uk
- Inflation and price indices – Office for National Statistics
- News Story: £1.3bn for core schools budget delivers rise in per pupil funding – Gov.uk
- Guidance: National funding formula tables for schools and high needs: 2019 to 2020 – Gov.uk
- Long-run comparisons of spending per pupil across different stages of education, Schools – Institute for Fiscal Studies
- School Funding Reform in England: a smaller step towards a more sensible system, will the final leap ever be made? – Institute for Fiscal Studies
- Spending on schools in England – Full Fact
- Policy: School and college funding – Gov.uk