Chancellor’s 2013 Spending Review

Today George Osborne revealed his £11.5 billion worth of cuts to public spending in his latest Spending Review

There are the key concerns for me:

  • I’m pleased to see that the UK Education budget is not facing cuts like many other government department. In fact the budget will  increase to £53 billion. In my opinion, placing monetary value on the next generation through investment in schools is always important, particularly in these tough times.
  • Whilst it may be a well-known and pressing fact that the UK education system, particularly in England, is falling behind its international friends, Osbourne’s plan to create 180 more Free school is certainly not the solution to the problem. This is a particular concern when we consider that Free Schools are yet to have shown evidence of coherent success, and therefore definitely should not be the monetary focus of the Department for Education.
  • Yes, school funding should be reformed so that more money is allocated per pupil and I hope that Osborne’s plan to “consult” means consult with the right people, teachers, governors, educationalist and parents within an appropriate amount of time.
  • Funding 20 new Studio Schools and 20 University Technical College should be done with caution. Attention should be given to where these schools are built or placed and their proposed admission policy.

Below is what Osborne had to say about spending on education in the UK:

But Mr Speaker, there’s no greater long term investment a country can make than in the education and skills of its children.

Because of the tough decisions we have taken elsewhere we have been able to invest in education and accelerate school reform.

When we took office, our country’s education system was falling behind other parts of the world.

Now, thanks to the brilliant programme of reform by my Right Honourable Friend the Education Secretary and the Schools Minister, we are once again leading the way.

So we have applied our reform principles here too: freeing schools and teachers to concentrate on teaching and turning the majority of secondary schools into academies.

In this Spending Round this momentum of reform will grow.

So the Education Department’s overall budget will increase to £53 billion and schools spending will be protected in real terms – fulfilling the pledge we made at the beginning of this parliament, for all of this parliament.

And we will transfer power – and money – from town halls and central bureaucracy to schools – so that more of this money for education is spent on education.

So while grants to councils and spending on central agencies are reduced the cash going to schools will go up.

And I can announce today that schools spending will be allocated in a fairer way than ever before.

School funding across the country is not equally distributed, but distributed on a historical basis with no logical reason.

The result is that some schools get much more than others in the same circumstances.

It’s unfair and we’re going to put it right.

Many MPs from all sides have campaigned for it.

My Honourable Friend for Worcester has been a particular champion in this Parliament.

Now the lowest funded local authorities in this country will at last receive an increase in their per pupil funding as we introduce a national funding formula to ensure that no child in any part of our country is discriminated against.

And we will consult on all the details so that we get this historic reform right.

The pupil premium we’ve introduced also makes sure we are fair to children from low income backgrounds.

It will be protected in real terms – so every poor child will have more cash spent on their future than ever before.

The capital budget will be set at £4.6 billion in 2015-16 – with over £21 billion of investment over the next Parliament.

We’ll tackle the backlog of maintenance in existing schools and we will invest in new school places.

We’ll fund twenty new studio schools and twenty new University Technical Colleges – those outstanding new vocational institutions.

Free Schools are giving parents the opportunity to aspire to a better education for their children.

Instead we must accelerate the programme – and bring more hope to more children.

Which is why I can announce that we will fund an unprecedented increase in the number of Free Schools.

We will provide for 180 great new free schools in 2015-16.

The schools budget protected; fairer funding across the nation; the pupil premium extended to more students than ever before and a transformation in the free school programme.

We will not make our children pay for the mistakes of the past.

We will give them every chance for the future.

It is the single best investment we can make for Britain.

 

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