Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Deprived local areas and schools ‘hit hardest’ by DfE’s school funding changes
Public Accounts Committee report says the Department for Education (DfE) “failed to take enough account of the impact of its decisions on individual schools and their pupils” when it announced changes to the school funding system, with the adverse impacts falling “disproportionately on deprived local areas and schools”.
- Read the full Report (HTML)
- Read the full Report (PDF 224 KB)
- Read the report summary
- Find all publications related to this inquiry, including oral and written evidence
The new national funding formula introduced in 2018-19 has caused re-distribution of funding from more deprived schools to less deprived schools: average per-pupil funding has fallen in real terms by 1.2% for the most deprived fifth of schools but increased by 2.9% for the least deprived fifth. Changes to the pupil premium funding also mean schools have lost out on £90 million of funding to support disadvantaged children.
There is a lack of urgency in DfE’s approach to making improvements to the school system. Delivery of a number of initiatives has slipped with DfE “unwilling or unable” to commit to revised timetables. “While the Department drags its feet, more and more children with special educational needs and disabilities are progressing through the school system without the support they need.” The ongoing delays publishing the SEND review announced two years ago are “unacceptable”.
The Department has committed £3.1 billion to help children and young people catch up on learning lost due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this funding drops significantly from 2022-23 and falls well short of the £15 billion that the Government’s own Education Recovery Commissioner recommended.
In January 2020, there were more than 20,200 mainstream state schools in England, educating more than 8.1 million pupils aged four to 19. 58% of these are maintained schools, funded and overseen by local authorities, the rest are academies, independent of local authorities, educating 4.4 million pupils. DfE is responsible for the school system and is ultimately accountable for securing value for money from the funding provided for schools. In 2020-21 it provided mainstream schools with core revenue funding of £43.4 billion.
Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:
“Schools are facing a perfect storm of challenges with promises of teacher pay rises, per pupil funding changes and falling rolls but no clear plan from the Department for Education.
“Schools and pupils in deprived areas are being hit hardest by the funding formula at a time when the government’s commitment is to level up. Add to this the ongoing delays in the review of support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and some of the most vulnerable children are facing an uncertain future – on top of the impact of Covid. Every part of government has faced challenges but the impact of the exam chaos, funding uncertainties and repeatedly delayed decisions is hitting young people hard and risks scarring their life chances.”
Latest News from
Parliamentary Committees and Public Enquiries
Can the UK economy take greater account of natural capital?01/12/2021 13:33:00
The Environmental Audit Committee is calling for views on revising the traditional measure of UK economic prosperity to take greater account of natural capital and environmental sustainability.
Committee announce proposed package of reforms to tighten lobbying rules29/11/2021 15:33:00
The Committee on Standards publishes recommendations for a package of reforms designed to tighten the rules around lobbying, transparency and conflicts of interest in the House of Commons, and make other improvements to the standards system.
Communications and Digital Committee publishes report on Channel 4’s future26/11/2021 15:33:00
The Communications and Digital Committee publishes its report The future of Channel 4.
Urgent action needed to tackle and prevent youth unemployment26/11/2021 11:38:00
The House of Lords Youth Unemployment Committee has published its report on youth unemployment, Skills for every young person.
Procedure and Privileges Committee publishes Fourth Report24/11/2021 09:25:00
This report sets out proposals for ending the use of speakers' lists for oral questions and 'Secretary of State' questions.
Rights and liberties of UK citizens must be protected in new EU travel rules, says Lords committee22/11/2021 15:33:00
The Government must address ethical, legal, logistical and political challenges arising from new border checks due to launch next year that will affect UK residents travelling to the EU, according to the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
Special Public Bill Committee completes its scrutiny of the Charities Bill [HL]22/11/2021 11:38:00
On Thursday 18 November 2021 the Committee reported the Bill to the House with amendments.
Cuts led to vulnerable children “crisis”: restore support to 2010 levels, peers tell ministers19/11/2021 15:43:00
More than a million vulnerable children in England have had their life chances reduced by cuts to early years and youth support since 2010. These cuts should be reversed.