Baroness Barron, like many Conservatives, thinks the recently-announced £14bn extra investment in education in England, is a sign of generosity. Speaking in the Lords’ debate on the Queens Speech two days ago, she said:
‘We are giving schools a multibillion-pound boost, investing a total of £14 billion over three years, so that the annual core schools budget is £7.1 billion higher by 2022-23.’
She is obviously oblivious to analysis which has debunked the funding boost claim. And The Office for Statistics Regulation says the £14bn figure has the potential to mislead, Schools Week reports.
Undeterred by the possibility of misleading listeners, she added:
‘The IFS has said that this investment will restore schools funding to previous levels in real terms per pupil, also by 2022-23.’
This IFS conclusion is presented as if it’s something to be proud of.
What the Baroness's boast actually means is:
‘After nearly a decade of cutting education funding in England, this government will inject just enough money to get funding back to 2010 levels in two years’ time.’
We can expect more of this in any future election campaign. Remember, when we hear Johnson say ‘we said we would upgrade and uplift education funding around the whole country’, that this only commits the government to reinstating education funding in England to the same level last seen when Labour was in power. And it won’t be until 2022/23. Twelve years of underfunding education in England is nothing to brag about.