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News - March/April 2019

Hinds pledges support for extra schools funding in November

Hinds pledges support for extra schools funding in November

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Statement failed to address the demands of teachers across the country for extra school funding, despite the Education Secretary Damian Hinds saying just days beforehand they have a good case for new investment.

Instead, the Chancellor announced a spending review that will be concluded before the Autumn Budget in November this year.

Prior to the Spring Statement, Hinds had been speaking at the Association of School and College Leaders’ annual conference, where he said he heard “loud and clear” their concerns over funding and the need for an extra £5.7bn to avoid deeper spending cuts or even insolvency.

Hinds pledged to “make the strongest possible case for education” to win more funding from the Treasury in the upcoming spending review. He said: “I understand the real concerns on funding. I get that finances are challenging for schools, and that many of you have had to make, and are having to make very hard choices.”

“I know that rising costs from suppliers to supply agencies add to these pressures, alongside the particular pressures in High Needs. On Wednesday the Chancellor announced the next spending review, which is when Government sets out spending allocations for the year ahead. I will take that opportunity to make the strongest possible case for education. For me, it’s not only a moral argument about our priorities - though that can’t be overstated.

“From a hard-headed point of view, for a strong, highly skilled, productive economy clearly we need the right level of investment in our schools. And so too, to deliver the revolution we need in technical education we need investment in our colleges.”

ASCL President Richard Sheriff estimated that an additional £5.7bn was needed to allow state schools in England to fulfil their basic functions. He said: “On the current trajectory, schools will either have to make more unpalatable cuts to the curriculum and the support they provide to pupils, or they will face insolvency. This is not a scenario which is acceptable to anyone.

“It must be obvious to everyone that a funding gap of £5.7bn cannot be resolved by trying to squeeze a few more efficiencies out of a system where every cost has already been trimmed. The answer must come from the Treasury in the form of additional investment.”

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