71% of UK adults want more spending on education, the British Social Attitudes Survey 2017 reveals.
The survey also found 83% would like to see more spending on health and 57% on the police.
The call for more money for education comes when schools in England are increasingly struggling with finances. At the same time, the Government claims more money than ever before is being spent on education in England. But this is because there’s been a rise in school population.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said total education funding in England has ‘fallen in real terms as spending cuts began to take effect from 2010 onwards. Between 2010–11 and 2015–16, it has fallen by about 14% in real terms.’
The IFS projected that per-pupil spending ‘is expected to fall by 6.5% in real terms between 2015-16 and 2019-20’. This reduction, the IFS said, would ‘be the first time schools have seen real-terms cuts in spending per pupil since the mid 1990s’ when Conservatives were last in power.
It’s clear the electorate want to see more money given to health, education and the police. But slightly less than half (48%) would support raising taxation to pay for it. Nevertheless, support for ‘tax more, spend more’ is at the highest level in a decade.
The Government claims it wants to create ‘schools that work for everyone’. But this can’t be done on a fraying shoe string. Neither will it be achieved by expanding selection which may (note ‘may’) benefit a few but has a negative effect on the many. Nor will allowing new faith free schools to select all their pupils based on faith. This discriminates against the many who are not of the faith.
The results of the consultation into proposals which the Government claims would result in schools that work for everyone are now well overdue. The consultation ended on 12 December 2016. The Department for Education says it will publish the results in due course. It’s difficult not to believe that the DfE is deliberately putting-off publication until plans to increase selection and proposals to allow new faith schools to discriminate are well under way.
When 71% of UK adults want more education spending, the DfE and the new education secretary Damian Hinds would do well to reflect that sprinkling money from a shrinking education pot on to pet policies such as free schools where new spaces aren’t needed, allowing grammar schools to expand and increasing the number of schools which can select by faith will not ensure that ALL schools receive fair and adequate funding.
Campaigners have called for an inquiry into proposals to scrap the 50% faith application cap in new faith free schools (see here). And not all Tory MPs, including former education secretary Nick Morgan, support selection (see here).