Schools need an extra £5.7 billion, says ASCL

School funding must be increased by £5.7 billion if every child is to receive the education they deserve, according to a new report from the Association of School and College Leaders.

The report, The true cost of education, warns that primary and secondary schools in England require £40.2 billion funding in 2019-20, but are only set to receive £34.5 billion.

The union calculated the figure by working out how many teachers and support staff will be needed to support the number of pupils in the system next year.

An ASCL survey of 407 secondary headteachers, also published today, found that almost all respondents (404) had made budget cuts since 2015, with 60 per cent saying the cuts were “severe”.

Speaking at the association’s annual conference in Birmingham today, ASCL president Richard Sherriff warned schools will have to make deeper cuts or face insolvency unless funding improves.

“We have analysed what it costs to provide the education service that our society expects and our children deserve. It is not an excessive or unrealistic expectation.

“On the current trajectory, schools will either have to make more unpalatable cuts to the curriculum and the support they provide to pupils, or they will face insolvency. This is not a scenario which is acceptable to anyone – schools, parents, communities or government.”

ASCL’s figure is based on schools being able to deliver a core curriculum in a building that is “safe and well maintained”, as well as having a qualified teacher in every class and meeting pastoral, safeguarding and special needs requirements.

The funding model developed by ASCL focuses on schools budgets for pupils aged 5 to 16, and does not include high needs or 16 to 19 funding. However, ASCL said separate work is being undertaken in these areas .

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said the government has “introduced a wide range of support to help schools reduce costs and get the best value from their resources”.

She added that school funding will be considered as part of the spending review, and the DfE will be “working closely with the Treasury throughout that process, which will be concluded alongside an Autumn budget.”


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  1. Carl Smith

    This is not a propaganda exercise. Nor is it party political. It is a real, modestly calculated costing of our 11-16 education system; not an ambitious plan, just a minimum expectation. We make choices as a country, let’s make the right choice for our children.