Treasury takes back £384m funding earmarked for schools
Funding promised to schools has been withdrawn by The Treasury, despite a cash flow problem in education
The Treasury has taken back money promised to schools, it has emerged. Some £384m was originally earmarked for schools in England as part of plans to make all schools academies. However, after the government ditched the compulsory academy plan The Treasury withdrew most of this extra funding.
The academy plan was dropped during the Queen’s Speech last October after it failed to gain support from the education sector and was a massive blow to the government.
It would have forced underperforming schools to make the switch to academies, putting them beyond the control of local authorities by 2022, and aimed to “spread educational excellence everywhere”. However, at the time there was significant concern about putting failing schools out of the reach of local authority control. As a result the Bill was eventually dropped, to the embarrassment of the government.
Anger over loss of funding
School heads are now expressing anger over the disappearance of this money that had been earmarked for education.
Heads said losing this funding was “outrageous”, particularly at a time when schools are struggling to “make ends meet”.
However, the Department for Education defended the action, stating it was appropriate to return the funds as the project did not go ahead.
Head teachers raise questions over funding
The news follows a letter to local MPs in West Sussex, written by head teachers asking what happened to the extra £500m pledged to schools last year.
Head teachers in Bristol also contacted the Education Secretary warning about “extreme” funding problems. They asked why the cash set aside for academies could not be used to plug this gap.
The Department for Education said most of this funding has disappeared back into The Treasury, but that in excess of £100m was spent on other education projects.
Schools have warned that funding problems means they may have to reduce school hours or cut teaching staff, but the Department for Education said schools are receiving record levels of funding, adding the new funding formula will distribute this more fairly.
Leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union Malcolm Trobe warned heads would be “extremely disappointed and angry” if the extra money had not been used within the education budget.