What is George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review, and what could it mean for schools?

Chancellor George Osborne will tomorrow reveal the outcome of the latest comprehensive spending review. But what is it, and what does it mean for schools?


What does a spending review involve?

Spending reviews involve individual government departments putting together plans to find efficiency savings, usually based on a mandated rate set by the Treasury itself.

In this instance, secretaries of state were asked for two plans – one to save 25 per cent, another to save 40 per cent.

Tomorrow we will find out the exact level of budget cuts that each department faces.

The last spending review, in 2010, planned for a 19 per cent average cut in departmental budgets over four years, but protected school funding.


Why is it happening now?

The outcome of this spending review will coincide with the Chancellor’s autumn statement, which is delivered every year.


When exactly will we find out what’s in it?

The Chancellor will make his announcements tomorrow in the House of Commons at 12.30pm. We will be live-tweeting the relevant bits here.


What does it mean for schools?

Although the Conservatives pledged ahead of the election to protect per-pupil funding, regardless of increases in pupil numbers, the impact of cuts on other parts of the Department for Education’s budget could be severe.

It seems certain that a fairer funding formula will be mentioned. This is nothing new, and has been the subject of cross-party campaigns for years. Campaigners for fairer funding have been told by ministers to expect good news, so an announcement is expected.

It is unknown what level of detail will be revealed. Last year, the government ‘topped up’ the school funding in some areas through a £390m grant to make it more equal. Children’s minister Sam Gyimah has said the government wants to ‘go further‘ than this in its reforms.

Whether or not we will find out exactly how far tomorrow remains to be seen.

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