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Heads Up: The Spending Review and Schools

Thu 26 Nov 2015

The Government spending review has been eagerly awaited by Schools. The key headlines: 

  • Intention to make all Schools Academies
  • Reduced role for LAs
  • Cuts to Education Services Grant
  • Introduction of National Funding Formula for Schools from April 2017 with transitional protections.
  • Saving £1 billion by 2020 by better procurement.
  • Sixth Form Colleges encouraged to join Multi Academy Trusts

 Extracts from the Spending Review document itself:

 “Schools

 1.163 The Spending Review protects the core schools budget in real terms, enabling the per pupil rate for the Dedicated Schools Grant to be protected in cash terms, including £390 million of additional funding given to the least fairly funded areas in 2015-16. The pupil premium will also be protected at current rates.

 1.164 Funding for universal infant free school meals will also be maintained, saving families around £400 for every infant each year.

 1.165 The government will introduce the first ever national funding formula for schools, high needs and early years, so that funding is transparently and fairly linked to children’s needs. This will end the unfair system where a child from a disadvantaged background in one school attracts half as much funding as a child in identical circumstances in another school, simply because of where they live.

 1.166 This reform will give schools more certainty over future budgets, empowering head teachers to take decisions for the long term. The government will launch a detailed consultation in 2016 and implement the new formulae from 2017-18. There will be a transitional period to help smooth the implementation of the new formula.

 1.167 The government is investing £23 billion in school buildings, opening 500 new free schools, creating 600,000 school places, rebuilding and refurbishing over 500 schools and addressing essential maintenance needs. The government is also investing in new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

 1.168 The Spending Review and Autumn Statement represents the next step towards the government’s goal of ending local authorities’ role in running schools and all schools becoming an academy. This will accelerate the government’s ambitious reform programme, giving more power to teachers.

 1.169 The Spending Review and Autumn Statement provides investment of over £1.3 billion up to 2019-20 to attract new teachers into the profession, particularly into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to deliver the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), to raise educational standards for young people.

 Investing in skills to equip young people for the future

16 to 19 year olds

 1.170 The Spending Review and Autumn Statement announces a cash terms protection of the current national base rate per student for 16 to 19 year olds in school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and further education colleges in England for the rest of the Parliament.

 1.171 As part of the government’s one-off restructuring of post-16 education and training, Sixth Form Colleges in England will be given the opportunity to become academies, allowing them to recover their non-business VAT costsThey will have the option of joining a Multi Academy Trust if they choose to, which will help drive up standards and improve efficiency.

 Department for Education

 2.56 The Department for Education (DfE) settlement includes: 

  • doubling free childcare from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working families of 3 and 4 year-olds, worth up to £5,000 per child per year from September 2017, and investing over £1 billion more a year by 2019-20 on free childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year-olds  
  • protecting the schools budget in real terms, enabling a per pupil protection for the Dedicated Schools Grant and the pupil premium-making around £600 million savings from the Education Services Grant (ESG) and supporting schools to realise efficiencies 
  • 23 billion capital investment over the Parliament to open 500 free schools, provide over 600,000 additional school places, rebuild and refurbish over 500 schools and address essential maintenance needs

 Security

2.57 Investing in education and skills will help deliver economic security. In addition to providing 600,000 additional school places, funding for universal infant free school meals will be maintained, supporting healthy eating and saving families around £400 for every infant each year.

 Long-term investment

2.58 The government will invest over £1 billion more a year by 2019-20 in free childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year-olds. To enable the doubling of free childcare for 3 and 4 year-olds with working parents, the government will invest at least £50 million of capital funding to create additional places in nurseries and over £300 million a year to increase the average hourly rate paid to childcare providers. From 2019-20 the government will spend a record £6 billion a year supporting parents with their childcare costs – this includes Tax-Free Childcare and Universal Credit. 

2.59 The government will support 800 more National Leaders of Education to continue driving up performance in schools, while increasing funding for teacher training and recruitment to deliver the English Baccalaureate and more specialist STEM teaching. 

2.60 The current national base rate per student for 16-19 year-olds in England will be protected in cash terms over the Parliament and the government will deliver 3 million high quality apprenticeship starts by 2020. Some targeted savings will be made from 16-19 funding, including from declining demographics and funding outside the national base rate per student.

 Efficiency and reform

 2.63 The government will introduce the first ever national funding formula for schools, high needs and early years. This will end the unfair system where a child from a disadvantaged background in one school attracts half as much funding as a child in identical circumstances in another school, simply because of where they live. There will be a transitional phase to help smooth the implementation of the new schools formula. The government will launch a detailed consultation in 2016 and will implement the new formulae from 2017-18.

 2.64 Savings of around £600 million will be made on the ESG, including phasing out the additional funding schools receive through the ESG. The government will reduce the local authority role in running schools and remove a number of statutory duties. The government will consult on policy and funding proposals in 2016.

2.65 The government will help schools to make savings on procurement, including by exploiting economies of scale. In 2016 the government will publish a set of specific actions to support school leaders target over £1 billion a year in procurement savings by the end of the parliament through benchmarking, guidance and improved framework contracts.

2.66 As part of the government’s one-off restructuring of post-16 education and training, Sixth Form Colleges in England will be given the opportunity to become academies, allowing them to recover their non-business VAT costs. They will have the option of joining a Multi-Academy Trust if they choose too, which will help drive up standards and improve efficiency of 16-19 education by enabling further collaboration between schools and Sixth Form Colleges.

 2.67 The department will deliver 20% core administrative savings through greater efficiency.”

 The DfE’s press release is here:

 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/department-for-educations-settlement-at-the-spending-review-2015

 The current calculation of the Education Services Grant is here:

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-services-grant-2015-to-2016

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