Gove's figures do not add up

Henry Stewart's picture
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Michael Gove claimed on Andy Marr's show this morning that the pupil premium (£2.5 billion by 2014/15) is new money and, with £1.1 billion to cover rising pupil numbers, will represent an extra £3.6 billion a year in spending on education. This repeats a statement on 27th October on the DfE web site.

But these figures do not make sense. A quick play with a spread-sheet shows that a rise of 0.1% a year on the current £35 billion schools budget, even if using compound interest, results in an extra £175 million by 2014/15, one twentieth of the figure Gove claims. To get £3.6 billion extra the rise would have to be 2% a year.

So which is it, Michael? Is there really a £3.6 billion increase or is it actually a fraction of that amount? The clue in the DfE statement is that it talks about a rise of £3.6 billion "in cash terms" (the term used when not taking account of inflation). The second link above also only promises to "maintain per pupil funding in cash terms".  This suggests the £3.6 billion is not a real increase but includes the increase for inflation.

So there is no extra £3.6 billion. There is simply a very low allowance for inflation (1.9%, against the current rate of 3%) and a tiny real increase. Michael: Isn't it time you stopped mis-leading the nation an admitted the pupil premium is not new money.
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