ASCL comment on school funding settlement

20/07/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the announcement of the school funding settlement for 2021
 
Commenting on the announcement of the school funding settlement for 2021, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We are pleased the government is delivering on its promise to improve school funding with this second year of its three-year plan for extra investment, but we are disappointed that it has so far failed to recognise the impending financial impact on schools of safely bringing back pupils from September.

“It presently has no plans to reimburse additional costs incurred as a result of implementing the safety measures which must be introduced to enable the return of all pupils1. These include extensive cleaning schedules, large quantities of hand sanitisers, extra hand-washing facilities, and cover for staff who are unable to attend because they are self-isolating. Schools’ budgets are very tight and they simply do not have enough money to cope with a national emergency.

“We understand that the government feels it is doing its best for schools, and we recognise the significant steps it has taken to improve funding, as well as the money allocated for catch-up support.

“But it is important to understand that these seemingly enormous sums are spread across more than 21,000 schools and eight million pupils. They come against a background of severe real-terms cuts in recent years, and costs which are rising above the rate of inflation. School finances continue to be stretched to breaking point, and the situation is even worse in sixth forms and colleges where the level of funding is completely inadequate.”


1 Department for Education guidance published on 2 July 2020, Guidance for full opening: schools, says: “Schools should use their existing resources to make arrangements to welcome all children back. There are no plans at present to reimburse additional costs incurred as part of that process.”