Schools: Per Pupil Funding

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on changes in the level of funding per pupil in schools since 2010.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

We have protected schools’ budgets in real terms since 2010, and through our reforms to schools and the curriculum children’s results have improved, particularly in reading.

Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth

Will the Minister confirm that the additional £1.3 billion announced a year ago does not address the £1.5 billion shortfall in school budgets? So what advice does she have for the 88% of schools in this country facing real-terms budget cuts, despite the new funding formula?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

I suggest the hon. Lady reads last week’s edition of Schools Week, which said that the unions had admitted that they had their sums wrong and in fact per-pupil funding was being protected in real terms in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South

Will the Chief Secretary confirm that per-pupil spending in this country is higher than that in Japan or Germany? Will she also confirm that this is not just about how much we spend, but about how wisely we spend it, thanks to which 2 million more children are now in good and outstanding schools than there were in 2010?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend is correct. In addition, the real-terms funding per pupil will be 50% higher in 2020 than it was in 2000. This Government’s reforms to reading and mathematics are resulting in students’ scores increasing, whereas under the Labour party we just had grade inflation.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Labour, Ilford North

That is fascinating, because compared with last year, England’s schools have 137,000 more pupils but almost 5,500 fewer teachers, 2,800 fewer teaching assistants, 1,400 fewer support staff and 1,200 fewer auxiliary staff. What has gone wrong? Is it that headteachers are not investing in staff, or is it that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury is in denial and thinks that she knows more than they do about how to manage school budgets?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

I point out to the hon. Gentleman that 10,000 more teachers are now working in our schools than under the Labour Government. He should look at the results that children are achieving and the improvements that we have seen, particularly in reading. Under Labour, we were among the worst in Europe, whereas we are now among the best.