Sixth form funding hike still leaves schools with less than they had in 2013, minister admits

Plans to raise the school funding rate for 16 to 19-year-olds will still leave schools with less than they had seven years ago, a minister has admitted.

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced last year that school sixth forms would receive £4,188 per pupil from August 2020, a 4.7 per cent cash-terms increase on the current rate of £4,000.

However, the government has admitted that funding in 2013 was equivalent to £4,435 in today’s money, meaning the rate from August will still be more than 5 per cent lower in real terms than it was seven years ago.

It comes after the government was forced to admit that per-pupil funding for five to 16-year-olds is now almost 2 per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2010, despite repeated claims from ministers that there is “more money than ever before” going into education.

The new figure for post-16 education was revealed by Department for Education minister Michelle Donelan in an answer to a parliamentary question tabled by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

“In 2013/14, the base rate of funding for 16-19 education was £4,000. Using the most recent GDP deflators to calculate the value of this rate at 2019-20 prices produces a figure of £4,435,” she said.

Rayner said the figure showed that the government’s promises to reverse real-terms funding cuts were “utterly meaningless”.

“A refusal to reverse their cuts in full proves the Tories are not serious about investing in further education. They only ever give with one hand after taking far more with the other.”

The 4.7 per cent base rate rise forms part of a £400 million package set aside for 16 to 19 education in 2020-21.

In her answer to Rayner’s parliamentary question, Donelan said this funding will be used to “ensure we are building the skills that our country needs”.

“This is the biggest injection of new money into 16 to 19 education in a single year since 2010, with funding increasing faster for 16 to 19 education than in five to 16 schooling,” she added.

“This includes a 4.7 per cent increase in the base rate to £4,188. With other funding announced, such as an additional £120 million of funding for high cost and high value subjects and £35 million to support students with Maths and English GCSE retakes, this represents an increase of around 7 per cent in overall 16 to 19 funding.”

Funding for future years beyond 2020-21 will be “considered as part of the next spending review”.