12:00PM, Friday 05 October 2018
School spending per pupil in Slough has fallen by more than £300 in real terms over the past four years, according to Government figures.
Department for Education data says Slough Borough Council will spend £319 less on each pupil compared to 2014-15, accounting for inflation.
In 2014-15, spending per pupil in Slough was the equivalent of £5,036, in real terms, compared to £4,717 this financial year, amounting to a six per cent drop.
In England, per-pupil spending has fallen by 2.8 per cent in real terms over the same four years, from £4,657 in 2014-15 to £4,528.
According to the figures, spending per pupil in Slough has fallen by £56 since 2017-18.
Money for the annual school’s budget comes directly from the Government in the form of a centralised grant and spending per pupil covers all education costs, from teacher salaries to textbooks.
In Slough, the allocated 2018-19 budget is £149.2million.
Jo Rockall, headteacher of Herschel Grammar School, Northampton Avenue, said per pupil funding has ‘remained static’ while costs, including pension and National Insurance contributions, have increased.
She added that post-16 sixth- form funding cuts and the apprenticeship levy have also hit many schools’ coffers.
Ms Rockall said that the Government’s proposed national funding formula, which aims to even out school funding across neighbouring boroughs, would disadvantage Slough schools which, she said have historically been better funded than some in neighbouring authorities.
The Government has delayed rolling out the formula until 2021.
Ms Rockall added that class sizes and student numbers have continued to increase while proportionate funding has not.
She said: “We understand that we are in an economic situation where public funding has to be carefully controlled, we recognise the situation that the country is in, but we’re now at the point where we can’t cut any more.
“It’s short-sighted not to invest in a generation of young people who we need in the future to drive economic growth.”
The Department for Education said that school funding in England will rise to a record £43.5 billion by 2020, and that funding for pupils with additional needs has risen from £5 billion in 2013 to more than £6 billion this year.
Slough’s cabinet member for education Cllr Shabnum Sadiq (Lab, Wexham Lea) said school funding may be lower, referring to recent news reports claiming Government ministers included university tuition and private school fees in education spending figures.
“Once again the Conservatives are selling our children and young people short – the cut to per pupil funding in Slough is one of the biggest in the country,” she said.
“Our schools and teachers do a wonderful job for our children, but time and time again we see their efforts hamstrung by Government cuts which are causing lasting damage to education for the children of Slough.”
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