Just over three million people have watched the new School Cuts video in just 72 hours. That’s three million people who care about the school funding crisis. Three million potential voters.
The video links to School Cuts website where parents, teachers, pupils and other concerned people to find out whether the cuts will affect schools in their areas.
Before the election was called, I emailed my local MP (Conservative) about falling school funding. I used School Cuts data. He told me the Government didn’t accept the figures. But the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Tim Harford from BBC Radio 4’s More or Less told Radio 4 PM on 17 May 2017 that the figures were correct.
My MP also told me funding for English state schools was at an all-time high. But this is because there are more pupils in English state schools.
The IFS found the Tory promise to ‘increase overall schools budget by £4bn by 2021-22’ meant a 6.9% real fall in per pupils spending from 2015/16 to 2021/22. Labour’s promise to ‘reverse cuts and protect per pupil funding in real terms’ meant a 1.6% real increase in per pupil spending in the same period.
FullFact summarised claims about school funding. It found the Public Accounts Committee noted on 22 March that schools would have to make ‘economies and efficiency savings’ amounting to £1.1 billion in 2016/17. This would rise to £3 billion by 2019/20. That’s 8% of the total budget for schools in England.
The National Audit Office (NAO), FullFact wrote, said real-terms per-pupil spending would fall by 8% of the total school budget between 2014/15 and 2019/20 after accounting for inflation. This was due to the growth in pupil numbers and rising staff costs, pensions and – although FullFact didn’t mention this – rising national insurance and the Apprentice Levy.
The IFS said:
‘… this will be the first time since the mid-1990s that school spending has fallen in real terms (when spending per pupil fell by 3.6% in real terms between 1993 and 1997).’
The last time school funding fell in real terms was when Conservatives were in power. It is falling again. How much more will it fall in real terms if the Tories form the next Government?