Focus on schools funding

Following the publication of the Education and Policy Institute’s report on schools funding, it was reassuring that this report, once again, allowed this issue to become a focus of the media.

We know that this is a seemingly perennial issue in schools, but it has been bought into particularly sharp focus of late. The report highlights that ‘two thirds of local authority maintained secondary school spent more than their income in 2016-17’ – with 40 per cent of local authority schools having declining balances for at least the past 2 years.

With findings like this, we hope that the Department for Education (DfE) will look again at its spending plans to see if budgets can be relaxed to keep pace with the inflationary pressures that are driving up costs across our sector.

In the interim, the report does highlight the steps that the schools sector is already taking to reduce costs. For example: maximising the availability of staff for teaching, reducing teaching costs or pooling resources across other schools. All sensible suggestions, however, as I’m sure you’re painfully aware, there’s only so far you can proceed with these measures whilst maintaining quality for your pupils.

The government has in the past tried to highlight where efficiency savings can be made, to try and mitigate against this, but as the report outlines ‘The extent to which these resources will help schools to manage forthcoming cost pressures is currently unclear. Both the government and schools will have to draw on all the available research to find the best ways to manage in a very tight financial environment without having an adverse impact on the quality of education.’

It’s a challenging environment to operate in and we want to help you as much as possible. Please let us know what we can do to make your lives easier and continue to provide the best service possible.