ASCL comment on Queen's Speech

19/12/2019
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the education briefing accompanying the Queen’s Speech.
 
Commenting on the education briefing accompanying the Queen’s Speech, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

The education briefing accompanying the Queen’s Speech again shows why we need an independent body which provides unvarnished and hype-free information in public life.

We are pleased that more money is going into 16-19 education next year. But the government’s boast that this represents the biggest injection of new money in a single year since 2010 and means funding is increasing ‘even faster’ than for 5-16 schooling needs to be put in context.

As the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported in September, FE colleges and sixth forms have faced the largest cuts in education spending in recent years. Between 2010–11 and 2018–19, spending per student fell by 12% in real terms in 16–18 colleges and by 23% in school sixth forms.

The stark reality is that these cuts have had a devastating impact on the sector with sixth forms and colleges having to drop courses and reduce student support services. The extra money being delivered next year is nowhere near enough to repair this damage and will still leave the funding rate for students a long way short of what it needs to be.

And while we very much welcome the additional money for 5-16 schools, the funding allocated will not be enough to both increase teacher starting salaries to £30,000 and reverse the cuts which have taken place. Many schools will in fact have to make further cuts next year because they will receive only an inflationary increase and school costs are rising at a faster rate than inflation.”