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news


Boris to boost school spending


In the run-up to the Tory leadership election, Boris Johnson said he would boost England's schools budget by £4.6bn per year from 2022/23 if he enters Number 10, as he declared education was his highest priority.


The move would reverse education funding cuts imposed by the then- chancellor George Osborne in 2015. Total school spending per pupil was frozen between 2015-16 and 2017-18, a move the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank says has translated to a real-terms cut of around 4%.


The former Foreign Secretary said:


"The 2016 referendum result was a clear cry from many people that they have been left behind. As Conservative councillors and members all over the country know, for too many years, schools in rural regions have received much less funding than schools in other parts of the country."


He added: "By making sure we leave the EU on 31 October, we can make sure that we level up all parts of the UK, invest in our schools and close the opportunity gap in our country."


Johnson also pledged to ensure that all primary schools receive at least


£4,000 in funding per pupil - a £306m total uplift on current spending, based on £3,500 for every pupil. The pledge followed his earlier campaign commitment to lift secondary school funding to £5,000 per pupil - £200 higher that the Government's current pledge for 2019-20.


Responding, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: "His supposed pledge doesn’t come close to reversing all the cuts that the Tories have imposed on education, let alone match Labour’s plans to invest in a national education service."


Secondary school class sizes continue to rise


Department for Education data indicates there is the equivalent of one extra pupil in each secondary school class compared with two years ago. New statistics reveal that, as of January, the average class size in state secondary schools was 21.7 pupils, up from 21.2 last year. And nearly 120,000 more youngsters since 2015 are being taught in classes with 31 or more pupils. In 2017, the average secondary class size was 20.8 pupils.


Overall, there are now 84,700 more children in the nation’s schools compared with the same point last year.


While some of this increase was in primaries, the large majority was in secondaries, which have seen numbers rise by 69,500 in a year.


It is the fifth year in a row that there has been a rise in secondary school pupil numbers.


In addition there are 6,500 more pupils in special schools, while there are 900 fewer pupils in independent schools compared with 2018.


Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This increase in class sizes is a direct result of real-terms


cuts in school funding. Class sizes have increased because schools have had no alternative other than to reduce the number of staff they employ at the same time as pupil numbers are rising.


A Department for Education spokesman said: “We’ve created around 920,000 school places since 2010 and remain on track to create one million by 2020.


“Coupled with the rising standards in our schools, this Government is ensuring every child benefits from the education they deserve.”


8 educationdab.co.uk


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