Personnel in the Department for Education’s PR section must be getting hoarse judging by the number of times the £14m funding boost has been repeated. Or else the media department just pushes a button which spews out the same potentially misleading statistic.
But, as I pointed out yesterday, crowing about how extra investment is going to restore education funding in England to levels last seen in 2010 is really an admission that schools have been underfunded since Labour was last in power.
But the DfE is at it again in the latest DfE media blog:
‘…the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said this will reverse school funding to previous levels.’
And how long will it take to return education funding in England to pre-2010 levels? Not this academic year. Not 2020/21. Not 2021/22. But nearly three academic years in the future in 2022/23.
It smacks of desperation when the DfE repeats the same IFS conclusion as if it’s something to be proud of.
It’s not just the DfE media machine pushing this mantra. Education secretary Gavin Williamson tried the same trick when discussing further education:
‘… we have announced an additional £400 million for sixth forms and colleges for 2020-2021 - the single biggest annual uplift since 2010.’
In November last year, the Nuffield Foundation described a ‘severe squeeze’ on funding for further education and sixth forms. It wrote:
‘Since 2010–11, funding per student aged 16–18 in further education has fallen by 8% in real terms and is now at about the same level as during the late 2000s.’
‘Funding per student in school sixth forms has fallen by 21% since its peak in 2010–11, and remains lower than at any point since at least 2002–03.’
Williamson’s uplift, then, is merely raising FE colleges and school sixth forms a little way from the bottom of the funding abyss.
Governments since 2010 should be hanging their heads in shame not boasting about how education funding in England will return to pre-2010 levels.
It’s like keeping workhouse inmates hungry and then expecting them to be grateful for their Christmas dinner.