Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to today’s Budget announcement.
Responding to today’s Budget announcement, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We fear this Budget falls a long way short of what is needed in terms of investment in education, but recognise that there is at least some progress in the right direction. There is more investment in early years, in schools and in 16-19 education, and we welcome these commitments. But there is long-term systemic under-funding in all these sectors, and significant investment is needed to repair the damage done by a decade of austerity.
“We hear the Chancellor’s claim that the investment in schools will restore per pupil funding to 2010 levels. However, we will need to see the detail of the overall spending plans and commitments before knowing the full implications. Even in the best-case analysis this still represents no growth in school funding for 15 years, and this commitment does not address the stark reality in 16-19 education where the learner rate is far too low. What we do know is that school and college budgets are very thinly stretched and the financial situation continues to be extremely difficult.
“The additional funding for education recovery following the Covid pandemic is nowhere near what is needed. Alongside other education organisations and school trusts, we submitted in August a proposal for an additional £5.8 billion of spending over the next three years focused in particular on supporting disadvantaged young people. This was far less than the £15 billion plan reportedly put forward by the former Education Recovery Commissioner and it is disappointing that the government has not gone further in meeting our relatively modest proposal. We will continue to press for the education recovery funding that children need and deserve. They have suffered the most educational disruption of any generation since the second world war and the government must do better for them.”