The Tories’ stealth cut of £1bn to education was just exposed

A child in education and Rishi Sunak pointing at him
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The Tories will be making a real-terms cut of £1bn to the education budget in 2023. That’s the analysis of a campaign group which previously exposed the government’s huge slashing of school funding. It’s calling on prime minister Rishi Sunak to increase the education budget. But will he listen –  especially as he promised to restore real-terms education spending to 2010 levels by 2024/5?

Stop School Cuts

Stop School Cuts is a campaign group linked to the National Education Union (NEU). In 2015, it showed that by 2020 the government would be giving 83% of schools in England less in real terms. At the time, think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) backed Stop School Cuts, saying:

This analysis shows that most schools will have seen real-terms cuts in school funding per pupil between 2015 and 2020 once you account for confirmed school funding allocations and the likely costs faced by schools.

Now, the group has performed another analysis. It’s found that next year, even more schools will be facing real-terms cuts.

Tory cuts of £1bn

Stop School Cuts says the government will be cutting funding to 90% of schools in 2023:

As Stop School Cuts wrote, the Tories will be cutting £1bn in total – affecting over 18,000 schools. The group noted that:

For millions of children, these cuts will lead to larger class sizes, reduced subject choice and less individual support for children. For teachers it means more real-terms pay cuts, more unmanageable workloads and less time to teach each child.

So, the group wrote an open letter to Sunak. It said:

At the 2021 spending review, you promised to “restore per-pupil funding to 2010 levels in real terms” but with rising costs, schools now face a real terms cut of £1bn next year. In total 18,060 schools face cuts, with millions of children impacted losing on average £146 per pupil in one year. After a decade of real terms cuts to school budgets and teacher pay, school communities simply cannot afford to bear further cuts.

The government will spend £324 less per pupil in 2023 than in 2015 in real terms. Teacher’s have suffered real-terms pay-cuts in the same period.

12 years of education austerity. Is there more to come?

Stop School Cuts’ analysis comes after 12 years of previous cuts. The IFS previously said that the government’s education budget between 2015/16 and 2019/20 faced:

the largest cut in school spending per pupil over a four-year period since at least the early 1980s and would return school spending per pupil to about the same real-terms level as it was in 2010–11.

Now, it appears Sunak’s government is compounding the issue. So, Stop School Cuts laid down the gauntlet to the PM. It asked him if he would:

  • Reverse the cuts facing schools next year?
  • Ensure deserved pay-awards for school staff are fully funded?
  • Keep your promise to restore per-pupil funding to 2010 levels in real terms?

With the government already putting austerity on the cards, whether or not Sunak will honour his 2021 pledge to restore real-terms education funding remains to be seen. It’s therefore likely that Stop School Cuts will have a lot more work to do in the future.

Featured image via Unsplash and Rishi Sunak – YouTube

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