What is the context?
The 2019 spending review delivered a three-year plan for schools and high needs block spending. The resulting additional £7.1 billion into the Direct Schools Grant (DSG) by 2022/23 is a step in the right direction. However, funding committed in the 2019 spending review will only deliver spend per pupil levels similar to those in 2009/10.
The increase in the post-16 learner rate to £4,188 in 2020/21 was a welcome step. However, research from London Economics has shown that this rate needs to increase to at least £4,760 per student, per year to ensure that schools and colleges can continue to deliver a high-quality, internationally competitive education. The college sector still receives far less funding for its learners than secondary schools (Key Stage 4) or higher education.
The government’s own figures highlight the impact of a lack of capital funding across the school sector. The DfE’s May 2021 Condition of School Buildings Survey indicates that the modelled cost of required remedial works across the school estate is £11.4 billion. Access to capital funding is inconsistent across different age ranges and types of school and college. The way it is allocated lacks coherence.
ASCL has welcomed the £3 billion education recovery funding to which the government has committed so far. However, this figure goes nowhere near far enough in addressing the impact of the pandemic on children and young people, particularly the most disadvantaged.
ASCL position: ASCL calls on the government to seize the opportunity of the 2021 Spending Review to address the impact of the pandemic, and to deliver funding certainty for schools and colleges for the period 2022-25. This must include
Why are we saying it?
- real terms growth in per pupil funding for schools
- an increase in the post-16 learner rate to at least £4760
- additional funding to implement agreed pay awards across the school and college sector
- capital funding to address the poor condition of the school and college estate
We are looking to the 2021 SR to deliver the following:
A three-year revenue settlement for schools which delivers annual increases in funding. These increases should be sufficient to deliver real terms growth in spending per pupil.
A three-year settlement which supports increases in the high needs block, at least in line with recent allocations at local authority level. In 2022/3 high needs block funding will increase by £780 million and each local authority will see cash increases of around 8% per head of population. This must include capacity to deliver changes required by the SEND Review
A three-year settlement for 16 to19-year-olds that includes an uplift in the learner rate to at least £4760.
A capital settlement that has capacity to adequately address the poor condition of the school and college estate.
An education recovery package that is sufficient to address lost learning and the broader impact of the pandemic. In collaboration with a group of sector organisations, ASCL has asked the government for a three-year settlement totalling £5.8 bn in recovery funding. The package includes support for all age ranges from early years to post-16 as well as national coverage from mental health support teams.
Read ASCLs submission to the 2021 SR in full here
Read the proposal for education recovery in full here