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School Funding

Volume 648: debated on Tuesday 6 November 2018

1. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the adequacy of schools funding. (907466)

More money is going into schools than ever before. Schools will receive over £42 billion of core funding this year and £43.5 billion next year. Our investment in schools is paying off, with 86% of schools now rated good or outstanding compared with 68% in 2010. Schools funding for 2020-21 onwards will be considered along with all areas of non-NHS departmental spending at next year’s spending review.

The Chancellor will already be aware that the £400 million for “little extras” has gone down like a lead balloon with schools that cannot afford the basics, but will he explain why there was not even a penny of additional money for post-16 colleges, most of which are in a desperate financial position and cannot carry out their training functions? Is the further education sector just another “little extra”?

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, we have launched a significant initiative for the FE sector with the Government’s new T-level programme, which is being rolled out over the next few years. The programme involves a funding commitment of an additional £500 million a year to increase contact time between learners and teachers or work environments by 50%.

Education at all levels clearly matters for our economy and our country. Financing education properly is important, and I will be taking a keen interest during the spending review. However, does the Chancellor agree that money is not everything and that good teaching and well-managed schools are of equal importance?

Of course. My hon. Friend is absolutely right. They say, don’t they, that no one ever forgets a good teacher? This is about excellence in teaching and in the leadership of our schools, and a well-resourced system led by excellent leaders and staffed by brilliant teachers is the best guarantee of Britain’s bright future.

17. It is not just schools in Dudley that have been inadequately funded. The area overall will have lost over £100 million by next year. Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council’s spending power has been cut by 20%, while Surrey, which the Chancellor represents, has actually had an increase. Why is he treating Dudley so unfairly? (907486)

As the hon. Gentleman will know, the national funding formula is providing every local authority with more money for every pupil in every school.

I welcome the extra £400 million that the Chancellor found in his Budget for school funding. North East Lincolnshire has two nursery schools that have been particularly badly affected by the current funding regime. The hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Melanie Onn) and I have met the Education Minister responsible, but it would be helpful if the Chancellor could arrange for us to meet one of his ministerial team to pursue the matter.

As my hon. Friend will know, we are putting a record £6 billion into childcare and guaranteeing working parents 30 hours a week of childcare for three and four-year-olds, but I am happy to ask one of my colleagues to meet him. We are always happy to discuss such issues. This aspect of funding, along with all others, can also be considered in the round at the spending review.

20. Austerity under this Government and the previous one has cost the Scottish Government £2 billion, meaning less money for education and other public services. Will the Chancellor bring an end to this failed austerity and also repay the £175 million from VAT on police and fire services? (907489)

What the hon. Gentleman does know, but chooses not to say, is that as a result of the measures announced in the Budget last week, including the huge increase in NHS England funding, Scotland will receive over £2 billion more through the Barnett formula by 2023-24.

Will the Chancellor confirm that public spending on schools has never been higher in the history of our country? Will he also repeat for the benefit of the House the proportion of pupils in good and outstanding schools now, compared with when Labour left office?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right on both counts. He might also be interested in the OECD data, which shows that England is the top spender in the G7 on schools and colleges delivering primary and secondary education, as a percentage of GDP. We spend more on primary and secondary education than Germany, France, Japan and Australia, both as a percentage of GDP and on a per pupil basis.