Education funding is down 8% since its peak in 2010, but does it really matter?

Education funding per pupil has fallen by 8% in real terms since 2009-10, which is the biggest cuts to education in three decades.

You can clearly see from the chart below (produced by the IFS and annotated by me how a dramatic increase in funding followed New Labour coming to power in 1997, and then a corresponding decrease in funding followed The Tories coming to power in 2010.

This is according to some recent analysis done by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in their annual review of education spending.

According to a recent editorial in The Observer these cuts are doing real harm to children’s education, with some schools having resorted to the following to make up for the funding gap:

  • putting wish lists on Amazon to get parents to help buy stationary items.
  • some headmasters are doubling up as cleaners and/ or minibus drivers.
  • some schools are finishing early one day a week. In Birmingham primary schools now finish at lunch time, for example.

At the same time funding cuts have also reduced children’s services more generally, so schools and children themselves will find it harder to access the services they need.

But is this just a moral panic?

As you can see from the chart above, funding levels are still way above what they were when New Labour came to power, still a massive 30% higher than when I was at school, and most of my generation turned out OK, so are these cuts really going to have that much of a negative effect on children?

And let’s face it, who doesn’t like early doors Friday: it’s just what they need to prepare them for a job in the city!

 

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