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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.