Schools cash boss admits funding ‘not generous’
THE row over school funding was reignited yesterday after a senior civil servant admitted that budgets were ‘not generous’.
Tom Goldman, deputy director of the funding policy unit of the Department for Education (DfE), said schools had ‘ real pressures to face’.
His comments fly in the face of repeated DfE assertions that more money than ever is going into schools – rising to a record £43.5 billion by next year.
The Government is also introducing a national funding formula, which aims to redistribute funding based on need rather than historic funding rates.
But Mr Goldman painted a gloomy picture of school finances when he addressed the Schools and Academies Show in London yesterday.
According to Schools Week, he said: ‘You’ll all be very well aware budgets for 2019-20 have been sent out to every school and local authority, and the first thing to say is obviously they are not generous budgets. They are budgets which leave schools with real pressures to face.’
Despite factoring in inflation and pupil number rises, school funding in the coming year is ‘as tight as it was last year’.
The DfE also came under fire from MPs who claimed it was failing to lobby for additional funding with the same zeal as health ministers championing the NHS.
Education committee chairman Robert Halfon, a Tory MP, likened the DfE’s approach to the Treasury to ‘ the cardinals in the Vatican – doing it very secretly in the hope there’s a bit of white smoke coming through the roof’.
Geoff Barton, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘It is cold comfort that the DfE is finally acknowledging that budgets are under enormous pressure after previously insisting that we have never had it so good.
‘Head teachers are still left with the grim reality of having to make impossible choices of where to make the next round of cuts.’