The victory of the Conservatives in December should see some radical changes to school funding

Education is an area of government which is devolved, meaning that changes promised by the Conservatives ahead of the election will only affect England. Here are some of the changes we can expect in England this year and thereafter.

At the heart of the promise was an extra £14 billion extra school funding with £780 million of this reserved for special needs funding.

The funding schools in England get per pupil will go up to at least £5,000 in secondaries from 2020 and £4,000 in primaries from 2021 – I would imagine with the programme starting on 5 April this year.

Teacher starting salaries will be raised to £30,000 with the London allowance being paid on top of this, and this will start in 2022.  I’ll come back to these opening points in my next post.

Beyond this there is the promised behavioural reform programme which will enhance the use of exclusions and enable schools with the worst pupil and student behaviour to learn from the best.

Excluded pupils and students still have to be taught however, and they will need methodologies and materials – which could lead to a significant opportunity for companies in this field.

In the same arena the Conservative manifesto said the party would “continue to help teachers tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying.”  So again we can expect money for resources to undertake this.

Next there is the policy to “create more good schools” an approach which will “support innovation, expand alternative provision schools (i.e. more Free Schools) and more school places for children with complex needs.

Quite how schools can pitch for money to innovate we don’t know, but if there is an innovation fund alongside the free school programme (which has turned out to be very wasteful because of the number of free schools that never get off the ground or do start but cease operation because of lack of numbers) this could be an interesting area for companies with innovative products and services.

Sadly (at least for myself as an ex-music teacher) the “arts premium” aimed at “enriching activities for all pupils” won’t launch until 2021, but no such delayed date was mentioned with the new investment in primary school PE teaching to “promote physical literacy and competitive sport”. £12 million will be given next financial year, then around £30 million a year thereafter for three years.

£1 billion is being allocated to child care so that  250,000 more primary school children can get onsite childcare over the summer holidays.

And there is the plan for £250 million capital funding all to be given at once to “help schools overcome specific barriers (such as hiring staff or capital investment in equipment and premises) which might prevent them offering childcare on site outside of the normal school year”.

As noted above, I’ll have a look at the core issue of extra funding per pupil in my next piece.  After that I will take a look at other issues raised by these promises and at education in Scotland which is funded separately.

Meanwhile if you feel (as we do – for reasons I will explain next time) that this is a good time to be advertising to schools, please do call 01604 880 927, or email Stephen@schools.co.uk, or take a look at our various services on our website

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