ASCL comment on IFS analysis of state and private school spending gap

08/10/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, showing that the gap in spending per student between private and state schools has more than doubled over the last decade.
 
Commenting on analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing that the gap in spending per student between private and state schools has more than doubled over the last decade, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

It is pretty outrageous that the government has cut funding in real terms to schools and colleges over the past decade while independent school fees have increased over the same period. The funding gap between the two sectors has always been there of course, but the fact it has widened to such a huge extent does stick in the throat. 

“It means that while state schools and colleges have been forced to cut back on things like subject choices, pastoral support, and extra-curricular activities – and with secondary class sizes rising – independent schools have been able to improve their provision in all these areas.

“Surely the government should want the same opportunities for all children and young people. It may be na├»ve to think that state education funding could match the independent sector but it surely shouldn’t actually go into reverse.

“We do recognise that the government has invested more in schools over a three-year period through to 2023 but it still falls short of what is needed. 

“Furthermore, the funding for post-16 education is lamentable, and there are serious problems with special needs funding which the government has still not addressed despite announcing a review two years ago.

“The government has an opportunity to address these issues in the spending review currently taking place. But will it live up to its mantra of levelling up
?”