Textbooks or tanks?

“Trade unions have said they estimate an additional £2.7bn a year is needed to take funding per pupil back to the level of 2015-16.

The NHS has been given a financial settlement, and there has been noisy lobbying within government for more defence spending.

Perhaps Mr Hinds had in mind the reproach from Treasury Minister Liz Truss to colleagues demanding extra money.

The Conservative chair of the committee, Robert Halfon, told the BBC: “After we got a wonderful settlement for the NHS, I believe we also need a ten-year plan for education and a five-year funding settlement too.”

Three teaching unions, the GMB, Unison and Unite have claimed the government is breaking a promise to maintain funding at the same level per pupil, after rising costs are taken into account.

They argue schools have been allocated an average of £4,630 per pupil, which is roughly £59 less in real terms than 2015-16.

The government says these calculations omit a large part of overall education spending, the central schools services block, which funds support services for schools.

“The claim that real terms per pupil funding has decreased in the last year is completely false,” a spokesperson for the Department for Education said.
“These figures fail to take into account that in 2018-19, we have provided an additional £450m of funding – making this comparison factually incorrect.”

Independent economists might think the government has a point, as it has previously been included in calculations.

Luke Sibieta, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said: “Changes were made to the school funding system for 2018-19 and funding for central services was separated out. Previously it was part of overall school funding.”

Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “It is no wonder that schools are increasingly struggling to provide pupils with basic essentials and having to ask parents to fill the gap.” …