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School Budgets and Costs to Parents

Volume 721: debated on Monday 24 October 2022

18. What recent assessment his Department has made of the impact of inflation on (a) school budgets and (b) the cost to parents associated with school. (901786)

The Department is working closely with stakeholders to monitor cost pressures on schools. Our generous 2021 spending review package is supporting schools with a £4 billion increase to core schools funding in this financial year alone and we are protecting schools through the energy bill relief scheme, although schools and trusts remain responsible for setting their own budgets. The Government are also assisting families directly: as well as the energy price guarantee for households, we are providing more than £37 billion to help households in the greatest need, thanks to our new Prime Minister.

Data from a National Association of Headteachers survey shows that 90% of schools expect to run out of money by the end of the next school year. I have spoken to headteachers who say that while school debt is escalating, demands on schools continue to increase, and the energy crisis is only one element of the funding crisis in education. Can the Minister tell me how the Government expect schools in my constituency to deliver standards and provide additional support when they cannot afford to survive?

As I said in my earlier answer, we have £7 billion until 2024-25 through the spending review. There is the £5 billion in catch-up to maintain standards and ensure that disadvantaged pupils in particular get high-quality support, particularly in tutoring, so that they can catch up on their lost learning, because we know the pandemic had a detrimental impact. There is also the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021, which was introduced by a Labour Member, which the Government adopted and sent out as guidance to make sure that the overall cost of uniform comes down. We are taking this all very seriously, and I am more than happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and headteachers in his local area to hear from them directly and see what other support we can give.