“The Government has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn after the statistics watchdog slammed the education secretary for wrongly claiming school funding is going up.
Damian Hinds made an “error” when he claimed in parliament that schools would get a real-terms increase in per-pupil funding, the Department for Education has admitted, following an investigation by the statistics watchdog.
The education chief was reported to the statistics watchdog by Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary after he claimed on January 29 that “real-terms funding per pupil is increasing across the system”.
Ms Rayner said today that Mr Hinds’s misleading comments were particularly troubling “given that he stressed the importance of honesty in our public debate” yesterday.
Although per-pupil funding will increase in cash terms in the next two years, it will not take into account inflation and cost pressures, and does not therefore represent a “real-terms” rise.
The head of the UKSA Sir David Norgrove, confirmed that the DfE admitted that Hinds’ claim was made “in error”, and that a correction had been recorded on parliament’s website.
Norgrove also warned claims made by Hinds about the impact of the new national funding formula were “perhaps too strong”.
On January 29, the education secretary said “each school will see at least a small cash increase”.
Funding for schools will increase in cash terms will increase in 2018-19 and 2019-20 but it will be up to local authorities how funding is allocated.
“The secretary of state’s suggestion that ‘each school will see at least a small cash increase’ was perhaps too strong. ‘On average will’ or ‘could’ would have been more precise,” said Norgrove. …
Last July, in response to growing protests over school cuts, Theresa May handed the Department for Education an extra £1.3bn, to be spent from next month.
However, even that cash will be taken from elsewhere in the department’s budget, such as spending on free schools, rather than boost overall education spending.””