Schools & Academies Show 2019: We Need to Talk About Funding 1

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Schools & Academies Show 2019: We Need to Talk About Funding 1

For this write-up, we will be breaking this talk into two parts. The first part will be looking at the actual talk itself and the second looking at the Q&A that took place immediately after. You can read part 2

The panel consisted of:

  • Tom Goldman, Deputy Director of the Funding Policy Unit at the Department of Education,
  • Stephan Morales, CEO of the Institute of School Business Leadership,
  • Tom Clarke CBE, Chair of the GovNet Advisory Board for Education
  • Debbie Clinton, CEO of the Academy Transformation Trust

The first thing discussed was, as with the ministerial keynote address, how the spending review had not yet begun. It will begin when the treasury fires the starting gun so to speak, and there will be fierce competition between departments for funding. What’s more, those in government have no real idea of what funding is going to look like beyond 2019/2020.

What could be preliminarily said about it, however, was that budgets will remain as tight this year as last year. The recalculation is done on the basis of inflation and pupil numbers, therefore schools that have seen a fall in the number of pupils will also see a fall in budgets. What’s more, redistribution means areas which did less well last year will have even less this year. The advice they could give when requesting increased funding was to present the argument to the treasury on a future-potential basis. The panel suggested that referring to what funding levels were like in the 2010/2015 budgetary periods is not likely to sway treasury officials. Instead, a focus on the potential for social mobility and increased productivity is more likely to increase funding.

The panel then moved on to discuss how while budgets might be tight, there is still room in the system to distribute and manage the money available more effectively. Part of solving this is a push to move away from the current distribution model, with a re-evaluation of what the education system is and what it is intended to do.

Take a look at Part 2 of this write-up, focusing on the Q&A here.

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