Three-quarters of English pupils to face funding cut

Seventy five per cent of state school students in England face a funding cut in 2011/12, with the figure for the south east and south west up to 90 per cent.

Seventy five per cent of state school students in England face a funding cut in 2011/12, analysis of government data by the Financial Times has revealed, with the figure for some areas, like the south east and south west, almost 90 per cent. During the next academic year, overall basic spending on pupils will be cut by 2.5 per cent – though schools will receive a further £430 ‘pupil premium’ for each child who is eligible for free school meals.

The news comes just months after the Chancellor unveiled a 0.1 per cent real terms increase in the schools budget in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The schools budget, covering teachers and classroom equipment, is set to rise from £35 billion to £39bn over the next four years – yet the total Department for Education budget will be cut from £58.4bn to £57.2bn.

At the time, teachers’ unions warned about the possible impact of the settlement. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said:

“The cuts are a retrograde step and will have a devastating impact on vital public services, including education. The Government may talk about protecting schools, but schools are not protected and nor are local authorities.”

While Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said:

“Masquerading behind the pretence of fairness and protection of funding, the truth is that school budgets have been plundered to pay for the pupil premium. It is not addition when in real terms money has been wiped off school budgets to fund the pupil premium.”

The FT analysis follows the publication yesterday of schools’ spending data for 2009/10, the full tables of which can be downloaded from the DfE website. As today’s Guardian reports, the figures show that:

• The local authority where schools spend the most on average is Hackney in east London. The average total expenditure of Hackney’s schools is £8,528.50. The local authority where schools spend on average the least is Knowsley, Merseyside. The average total expenditure of its schools is £4,310.05.

• Schools spend on average 56% of their budgets on teachers.

• Although schools spend most of their money on education staff, they spend approximately £9.2bn a year on other areas including catering, back-office costs and energy bills.

• In 2009-10, schools spent £2.1bn on premises, including buildings and grounds maintenance, cleaning and caretakers.

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