Schools cash boss ad­mits fund­ing ‘not gen­er­ous’

Daily Mail - - Brexit In Crisis - By Sarah Har­ris

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.’

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