Comprehensive Spending Review 2015: Sixth form academies, UIFSM protection, & goodbye Education Services Grant

Chancellor George Osborne is delivering his autumn statement and the outcome of the comprehensive spending review in the House of Commons. Here’s what we know about education…

Sixth form colleges will be able to become academies

This will be hailed as a victory for the Sixth Form Colleges Association and several MPs who have campaigned for changes to stop them being required to pay VAT.

Universal infant free school meals and pupil premium funding are safe for now

The Chancellor has pledged to protect them on a per-pupil basis.

A national funding formula will be in place by 2017

We all knew this was coming as it was trailed in the Sunday papers, but the fact it will be introduced so soon is new. Nicky Morgan will launch a consultation in January.

The Education Services Grant is going to be scrapped

This will save £600m, but isn’t good news for councils.

The detail says that a consultation will be held on the reduction of “statutory duties” of local authorities. Given only a few remain – such as admissions and safeguarding – it is tough to see what this reduction will involve.

£23bn will be spent on opening new free schools and maintaining existing schools

Osborne announced £23bn capital investment over the course of the Parliament to open 500 free schools and rebuild and refurbish over 500 more.

16 to 19 and adult skills funding will be protected

The government will protect the national per-student base rate for 16-19 year-olds in school sixth forms, sixth form colleges and FE colleges in England for the rest of the Parliament. Core adult skills funding will also be protected in cash-terms.

This came as a surprise to many within the FE sector, who were expecting significant cuts. Per-place funding for apprenticeships will also increase, with the aim to have doubled it between 2010 and 2020.

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