“This report shows the reality behind the government’s boasts about record funding for schools. Investment has in fact failed to keep pace with school costs and it is a particularly poor reflection on the government’s priorities that schools serving disadvantaged children have faced the biggest cuts. And this picture of underinvestment is worse still in other parts of the education system which often get less attention but which are of vital importance – early years education, colleges and sixth forms.
“Nothing in the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement addressed this dire situation and it is therefore inevitable that more spending cuts will be needed and the room for meaningful pay awards that address the staff recruitment and retention crisis will be severely constrained. Education is not only crucial to the life chances of children and young people but also a key lever of the economic growth that has proved so elusive. Instead, the government has put its faith in tax cuts as a pre-election sweetener.”