Election Promises On School Funding – Do The Party Pledges Cut It?

Sunday 28 May 2017

Today’s major relaunch of the School Cuts website shows what the manifestos of the main political parties will mean for every individual school in England. Building on recent analyses by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Education Policy Institute, the interactive map at http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk makes it possible to see what the party pledges look like at a local level, not just as national statistics.

With less than two weeks to the General Election this is a critical time for schools and colleges. We don’t know who will win the election but we do know what education funding will look like under each of the parties, should they be successful.

The ATL, NUT and GMB have updated the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website to reflect what the three main political party pledges on education funding will mean for education in England.

  • The Conservative manifesto commitment will mean £1bn funding for schools. This would result in an £8.9 billion real terms cut, when taking into account inflation and growing pupil numbers, between now and 2021/22. The pledged £1bn would not in any case be new money – it is to be funded by cutting infant school free meals and other spending commitments.
  • The Labour manifesto commitment will mean £4.8bn funding for schools. This would protect school funding in real terms per pupil, protecting schools against inflation.
  •  The Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment will mean £2.2bn funding for schools. This would give protection on 2017/18 funding levels, and would ensure that schools won’t lose in cash terms through the introduction of the National Funding Formula.

To get individual breakdowns of what school/college budgets will look like under the main parties use www.schoolcuts.org.uk . Simply enter your postcode and click on the schools in the area to get a breakdown of what a Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat government would mean for children and young people.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

“This election has to be in part a Vote for Education and candidates should be held to account for their parties’ manifesto promises on school funding. Every parent, teacher and school staff member knows the debilitating effect a chronic lack of money has for the quality and type of education schools can give to children and young people.  Without sufficient funds schools will be forced to drop subjects from the curriculum, increase class sizes or cut staff numbers. Buildings are going unrepaired and begging letters to parents for money are all too common practice. We must do better.”

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Schools are struggling to make ends meet, with tough choices on cutting staff, reducing subject choice, leaving equipment and buildings unrepaired, as well as dealing with less support for youngsters with special needs or mental health issues. Unless the next Government finds more money for schools, children’s education will suffer just at the very time we need to prepare for our country’s future. All schools need to be fully funded and the General Election gives everyone an opportunity to vote for education.”

Tim Roache, General Secretary of the GMB, said: “Our schools are being run into the ground and our kids are being denied the life chances they deserve, all because of government neglect and sustained cuts to school budgets. Our votes are our voice – it’s time to elect those who will fund our future, support our dedicated school support staff, and put the education of our children first.”


We used analysis of the three main parties' spending commitments published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies to calculate the impact of those spending commitments on schools in England. https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9252

We used the GDP deflator published by HM Treasury to estimate general inflation over the period 2015-16 to 2021-22.https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gdp-deflators-at-market-prices-and-money-gdp-march-2017-quarterly-national-accounts-march-2017

Figures for 2021/22 have been calculated from a dataset provided by the Department for Education through the COLLECT system. The dataset contains sensitive information which is why it is not generally available. We were able to make accurate calculations for 2021/22.

All the figures are in 2017/18 prices.

The calculations were made on the basis that the National Funding Formula (NFF) due to be introduced in April 2018 will be that proposed by the Secretary of State on Wednesday 14 December 2016.

The calculations were made using the following evidence.

a. The Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifesto commitments to ensure no school loses out in cash terms from NFF.

b. The Labour manifesto commitment to ensure that no school loses out in real terms from NFF.

c. That the Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifesto commitments would result in caps to gains under the NFF of 3% in 2018-19, then 2.5% in 2019-20, 2% in 2020-21 and 2% in 2021-22.

d. That the Labour manifesto commitments would result in schools gaining funding under the NFF having those gains capped at 1% above inflation.

The embed code is available here: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#!/embed



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