Extra funding for schools, but not clear when

19th August 2019

New Chancellor Sajid Javid is expected to pursue a spending review in September to follow through on the new Prime Minister’s school funding promises.

However, the new cash is not likely to be available for schools until the autumn of 2020.

During his leadership campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was a "need to be increasing our spending on education around the country", going on to promise a "minimum funding level".

Mr. Johnson is understood to want every secondary school to spend at least £5,000 per pupil. Under the government’s current spending plans, secondary schools are already supposed to get a minimum of £4,800 per pupil. He also wants to reverse previous spending cuts.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, if the Chancellor were to reverse the per-pupil cuts since 2015, that would cost £1.8 billion, rising to £3.8 billion if all cuts since 2009 were reversed.

The Spending Review will be for one year only rather than the normal three, due to the uncertainties over Brexit. In fact the previous Chancellor, Philip Hammond, had already intimated that a one-year Review was being planned.

The review will cover day-to-day departmental budgets for 2020-21, which means extra money for schools is unlikely to be available before September 2020.

It is reported that The Treasury does not wish to change school funding for the 2019-20 school year as this has already been set.

A full three-year Review is planned for next year.

It is not clear whether all of the Prime Minister’s spending wishes will actually happen.

The Department for Education has so far been reluctant to confirm whether schools will be expected to fund the £1.5 billion annual cost of increased pension contributions from increased government spending. The first year of the increase is already covered by government funds.

The House of Commons Library has published a regional breakdown of school funding levels.

If you would like to discuss how the Spending Review might affect you, please contact a member of our Education team.

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