The new prime minister Boris Johnson has said he will “immediately” begin work to “level-up” per-pupil funding for schools.
Delivering his first speech on the steps of Downing Street, Johnson said it is his job to make sure children “get a superb education, wherever they are”.
During his campaign, Johnson initially pledged a measly £50 million extra funding – equivalent to a 0.1 per cent rise in the schools budget – to raise per-pupil funding in all secondary schools to £5,000.
However, he later made a more generous pledge – of an extra £4.6 billion per year for schools by 2022, just short of the £4.9 million the Institute for Fiscal Studies reckons schools need to reverse the cuts of the last decade and protect school budgets.
It is not clear which pledge he was talking about when he promised “immediate” action today.
In his speech today, Johnson said he worked for the British people, pledging action to boost police numbers, improve hospitals and fix social care.
“My job is to to make sure your kids get a superb education wherever they are in the country, and that’s why we’ve already announced that we’re going to level up per-pupil funding in primary and secondary schools,” he said.
“That is the work that begins immediately behind that black door.”
Responding to news that education is among the top issues on Johnson’s domestic agenda, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the country needed “real money for real pupils in real schools”.
“Our message to Boris Johnson is that, if he is serious about a domestic agenda which includes education as his top priority, we need more than just promises on the side of a bus,” he warned.