EPI report shows government underfunding is key problem

17 March 2017

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has today published a report on the impact of the government’s proposed National Funding Formula for schools.

Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We welcome this timely and incisive report which identifies that government underfunding of the education sector is the key problem.

“The government deserves credit for committing to a funding formula because the current system is unfair and needs to be reformed. But the overall pot of money is too small and is not sufficient to meet rising costs. This means a net loss for even those schools which appear to ‘gain’ under the formula.

“As a result, the proposed level of basic funding per pupil in the formula is too low to allow schools to operate. Additional funding allocated for deprivation, low prior attainment and other additional factors, will be needed just to lessen the impact of cutbacks, rather than provide extra support, while schools which receive little additional funding will be in dire straits.

“Government underfunding of education means all pupils will suffer, including those who are disadvantaged and just about managing. The government must invest more in the education system to ensure that all schools are properly funded and fulfil its commitment to improving social mobility.

“The government says it is spending record levels on schools, but this is only because pupil numbers are rising. Funding per pupil will fall by 8% in real terms between 2014-15 and 2019-20 and this means that schools must find £3 billion of savings in their annual running costs1.”

1. National Audit Office. Financial sustainability of schools. 14 December 2016.