School Funding — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:47 am on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education) 10:47 am, 24th October 2018

We have made a significant investment in our schools by providing an additional £1.3 billion across this year and next, which is over and above the funding confirmed in the 2015 spending review. The additional money means that core funding for schools and high needs will rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion this year, and to £43.5 billion in 2019-20. As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed, funding for five to 16-year-olds will be maintained in real terms per pupil across this year and next year. The IFS has also pointed out that by 2020 real-terms per pupil funding will be some 70% higher than it was in 1990 and 50% higher than it was in 2000.

Of course we recognise that we are asking schools to do more and that schools are facing cost pressures. That is why the Department is providing extensive support to schools to reduce cost pressures. We have recently launched “Supporting excellent school resource management”, a document that provides schools with practical advice on savings that can be made on the £10 billion of non-staffing expenditure in schools. It summarises the support the Department is offering to help schools to get the best value from their resources, including things such as buying equipment more cheaply and the new teacher supply agency framework, which ensures that fees paid by schools to agencies are transparent and that people are aware of what they are signing up to.

Another issue that was raised was, of course, high needs. We are firmly committed to supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities to reach their full potential. That is why we have reformed the funding for these children by introducing a high-needs national funding formula. We have invested an extra £1 billion in funding for children with high needs since 2013 and next year we will provide local authorities in England with over £6 billion in high needs funding, which is up from just under £5 billion in 2013. We recognise the challenges that local authorities face with their high needs budgets, which is why we have provided them with support to deliver the best value from their high needs funding. We are also monitoring our national funding formula for high needs and keeping the overall level of funding under review.

The issue of teachers’ pay and pensions was also raised. We have responded to the recommendation made by the school teachers’ review body to confirm the 2018 pay award for teachers, which will see a substantial 3.5% uplift for the main pay range, a 2% uplift for the upper pay range and a 1.5% uplift for the leadership pay range. That will ensure that schools are supported to continue to attract high-quality staff members and retain them.