£1.3billion diverted into core funding over next two years

THE Government has announced that £1.3bn will be diverted into core school funding from other pots including money earmarked for new free schools and the ‘healthy pupils’ programme.

Education Secretary Justine Greening announced the funding switch as she confirmed the Government’s commitment to deliver the national funding formula in 2018.

The £1.3 billion, in addition to the budget set in the 2015 spending review, would mean that core funding would be £2.6 billion higher in 2019-20, compared to 2017-18, Ms Greening stated.

One of the chief concerns that has been raised is that the £1.3 billion is not ‘new’ money from the Treasury, but will instead be recouped from savings to be made in other areas of the DfE’s budget.

A total of £320 million of the additional funding will come from the new tax on sugary soft drinks and had been pledged to increase the primary sports funding pot from 2017-18.

Whilst the confirmation of the money for the sports funding is welcomed, the timing leaves Primary Heads little time to effectively plan how to use it before the start of the new term.

Further money will be taken from the free schools budget, fuelling concerns that the current free schools programme is too expensive to deliver.

Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS NorthEast also raised the concern that the £1.3 billion will still leave schools with a shortfall. He said: “While additional funding into schools’ core budgets is to be welcomed, there is no new funding and other areas of school life will be hit to fund the redistribution. Furthermore, while £1.3bn is significant, it falls considerably short of the £3bn funding blackhole the National Audit Office has calculated that schools are facing.”

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