£5.6 billion needed to protect school budgets in real terms

  • By Gemma Kappala-R...

Schools across the country are facing a £1.6 billion funding shortfall over the next five years, according to figures published today by London Councils, which represents the 32 London boroughs and the City of London. 

London Councils’ analysis reveals that schools in England need an additional £5.6 billion between now and 2021/22 just to remain afloat and manage the financial pressures they are experiencing. 

The Government announced a £4 billion education funding package in its manifesto, which will be welcomed by cash-strapped schools, but this still leaves school budgets with a £1.6 billion shortfall. 

London Councils’ Leaders’ Committee met today to review the figures and agree to urgently pursue making the case to Government for protecting school budgets in real terms.

Cllr Peter John OBE, Deputy Chair of London Councils and Executive member with responsibility for schools, said:

“Providing children across the country with the highest standard of education is vitally important. We are calling on Government to recognise that it has not gone far enough to protect school budgets in real terms. By investing a further £1.6 billion, on top of the £4 billion pledged in the manifesto, Government would honour its commitment to shield every school in the country from funding cuts.”

Schools in England are still waiting for Government to confirm that additional funding is in the pipeline and provide details of how it will be shared out.

London Councils’ modelling takes into account a wide range of challenging cost pressures facing English schools, including pupil population growth, inflation, national insurance payments, pension contributions and the apprenticeship levy.

Of the national school funding shortfall of £1.6 billion, London schools will experience a £300 million shortfall between now and 2021/22.

Talking Heads, a survey of around 400 London headteachers commissioned by London Councils from Tes, Shift Learning and The Education Company, revealed that more than 70 per cent believe that pupil outcomes will be negatively affected by budget cuts and 65 per cent foresee reducing the number of teachers they employ in the years ahead.

For more information on London Councils’ school funding position, click here to read our Leaders’ Committee report


Notes to Editors:

• London Councils has undertaken modelling to calculate the total cost pressures on schools across England and estimates that this will amount to around £5.6 billion between 2017/18 and 2021/22. The Conservative Party manifesto pledged £4 billion of additional funding over the same period, which would leave a shortfall of around £1.6 billion, which is less than 5 per cent of the total funding allocation that all schools in England receive. The equivalent funding gap in London would be £300 million over the same period. 

• Our modelling is based on cost pressures identified by the National Audit Office’s Financial Sustainability of Schools report, school capacity survey (SCAP) forecasts for pupil growth published by the Department for Education, reductions to the Education Services Grant, and the cost of protecting all schools against losses from the National Funding Formula. Full details of the modelling can be found at the end of our Leaders' Committee report.

• London Councils has also sent a letter to the Education Secretary, Justine Greening MP, to raise these issues directly with her and to request a meeting