Labour: Chil­dren pay­ing for aus­ter­ity as ed­u­ca­tion spend falls £7bn since 2011

The Independent - - News - LIZZY BUCHAN PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

School­child­ren and adult learn­ers are “pay­ing the price for aus­ter­ity” as new fig­ures show ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing has been slashed by more than £7bn since 2011, Labour has said.

Anal­y­sis by the House of Com­mons Li­brary found that real-terms spend­ing on schools and col­leges had slumped from £95.5bn in 2011/12 to £87.8bn last year, a to­tal fall of £7.7bn.

The fig­ures show ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing as a share of GDP fell from 5.69 per cent to 4.27 per cent, a de­cline of 25 per cent in only seven years.

Shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary An­gela Rayner ac­cused the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE) of break­ing a prom­ise on school fund­ing, after min­is­ters re­peat­edly claimed that ev­ery school would re­ceive a cash in­crease.

It comes as a shock sur­vey re­vealed four in five teach­ers were us­ing their own money to sup­port pupils, while al­most three in four head­teach­ers said they had re­lied on par­ents to prop up school bud­gets.

Ms Rayner said: “This will come as no sur­prise to teach­ers who are hav­ing to make do with less and par­ents who are re­ceiv­ing beg­ging let­ters from schools to cover ba­sic sup­plies.

“De­spite mis­lead­ing state­ments made by the prime min­is­ter and her min­is­ters, the gov­ern­ment’s own data shows that they have been slash­ing ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing through­out their time in of­fice.

“It will be a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren and adult learn­ers who will pay the price for Tory aus­ter­ity and the To­ries’ fail­ure to in­vest in our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.”

The find­ings come after ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Damian Hinds was pub­licly re­buked by the sta­tis­tics watch­dog over claims made about ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing.

In a let­ter pub­lished in Oc­to­ber, Sir David Nor­grove, chair of the UK Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity, said the DfE had mis­used sta­tis­tics on at least three oc­ca­sions in re­cent months.

He ac­cused min­is­ters of hav­ing made in­ac­cu­rate claims about im­prove­ments in chil­dren’s read­ing, lev­els of school fund­ing and the num­ber of pupils in good schools.

Ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Nick Gibb was also crit­i­cised for claim­ing that the UK’s spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion was the third high­est in the world. It later emerged that the fig­ures in ques­tions did not re­late solely to gov­ern­ment spend­ing but in­stead in­cluded pri­vate school fees and univer­sity loans.

At the time, Mr Hinds wrote to the watch­dog promis­ing to look into the pre­cise is­sues but largely de­fended the claims. He said: “It is true to say that the OECD has ranked the UK as the third high­est for to­tal ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing – the fig­ure which in­cludes ter­tiary and pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion for ev­ery coun­try.”

The DfE has been con­tacted for com­ment.

(EPA)

Shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary An­gela Rayner ac­cused the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion of break­ing a prom­ise on school fund­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.