School funding per pupil across Suffolk and Essex drops dramatically in four years
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The amount of money spent per pupil in Suffolk and Essex has dropped dramatically in the past few years, according to analysis of figures from the Department for Education.
In 2018-19 both councils will spend less on each pupil in their schools than in 2014-15, after the figures are adjusted for inflation.
In Suffolk, £241 less per pupil is being spent by the council while in Essex that figure is £174 per pupil.
The annual schools’ budget details how much a council can spend on education in the financial year. The money comes directly from the Government in the form of a centralised grant.
The allocated budget for Suffolk for 2018-19 is £451.2 million and £939.4 million for Essex.
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Graham White, a spokesman for the Suffolk division of the National Education Union, NUT section, said: “We used to hear the mantra ‘every child matters’ but this no longer appears to be the case if the government continues to starve schools of the money they need.
“Education is a right not a privilege. Education is not cheap but ignorance is more expensive.
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“The inevitable result will be pupils receive a poorer education than they deserve.
“Schools are in desperate need of adequate funding.”
Jerry Glazier, the general secretary for the Essex Division of the NEU, NUT Section, said the county’s schools were on a “cliff edge” when it came to funding.
“The reduced, in real terms value of the funding means that schools are under continuing financial pressure.
“This can only mean increased risk of fewer support staff, reduction in support for pupils with special educational needs (SEND), larger classes and less spend on resources.”
Mr Glazier also raised concerns about teaching roles in Essex – particularly in non-core subjects – not being filled after staff had left.
The Department for Education said that school funding in England will rise to a record £43.5 billion by 2020, and that funding for pupils with additional needs has risen from £5 billion in 2013 to over £6 billion this year.
“We know we are asking schools to do more,” said a DfE spokesperson.
“That’s why the Education Secretary has set out his determination to work with the sector to reduce cost pressures, including things like stationery, energy and water bills.”
The spokesperson said: “There is more money going into schools than ever before.”
The Local Government Association (LGA) which supports and works with local authorities across England and Wales gave their reaction to the figures.
It said that it shares the concerns of schools over the “squeeze” on funding, and the possible impact on the quality of education children receive.
LGA’s children and young people chairperson Antoinette Bramble said: “To make sure every school is adequately funded, the Government should introduce three-year budgets and allow councils to work with schools to set budgets that reflect local need.”
Responding to the news Essex County Council said:“In cash terms, in Essex the amount of cash funding per pupil in 2018/19 is actually higher than it was in 2014/15. But in real terms, it is a reduction, because the Dedicated School Grant, the main source of schools funding, does not take account of inflation.”
“This is not the only source of schools funding, and in Essex the correct figure for 2018/19 is just under £986 million, including ‘high needs’ funding, not the £939.4 quoted.“