Rishi Sunak boasts per pupil funding will ‘return to 2010 levels’

Rishi Sunak boasts per pupil funding will ‘return to 2010 levels’
Chancellor also unveils further money for Covid catch-up

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced per pupil funding will return “2010 levels” in real terms by 2024-25 — after more than a decade of Conservative austerity.

Unveiling the Budget, Mr Sunak said an extra £4.7 billion by 2024-25, “which combined with the ambitious plans announced at the spending review of 2019 will restore per pupil funding to 2010 levels in real terms”.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), between 2009-10 and 2018-19, spending per pupil fell by eight per cent in real terms in England, but rose again afterwards to “reach just below 2009-10 levels”.

“Not much of a boast really to say that school spending per pupils will return to 2010 levels,” the IFS director responded. “A decade and a half without growth is quite a thing”.

On the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Sunak said a further £2 billion would be made available for recovery — but still way short of the figure recommended by the former education catch up tzar.

In June, Sir Kevan Collins resigned from the position in protest at the funding package offered by the government, describing it as falling “far short of what is needed” and warned: “A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils”.

In an evidence session to MPs after quitting the post, Sir Kevan said there were proposals he presented to government that “got to £15 billion”.

Presenting the Budget, the chancellor said: “We’ve already announced £3.1 billion to help education recovery.

“Today, as promised by the prime minister and education secretary, we will go further — with just under £2 billion of new funding to help schools and colleges — bringing this government’s total support for education recovery to almost £5 billion.”

During the statement, Mr Sunak also announced a £300 million “start for life” parenting programme — with an extra £170 million by 2024/5 going into paying for childcare.

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