4th February 2016

The Times Educational Supplement reported that a senior DfE official acknowledged the scale of the financial challenge facing schools when speaking to heads and school business managers.

Tony Foot, director of the Department for Education’s education funding group said he was “under no illusion” about the financial difficulties schools would face because of a combination of real terms budget cuts and rising costs.

Speaking at a school funding conference in London, Mr Foot said that schools would face a difficult few years although schools fared better than many other parts of the public sector in Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review in November.

The TES reported Mr Foot as saying “The schools budget is protected in real terms. There’s a lot of nuance around what that really means in practice.

“So to be very clear, it means the core DSG [dedicated schools grant] and the pupil premium as a total pot are protected in real terms, as is the cash amount per pupil in the DSG as a whole and the cash rates within the pupil premium.

“It doesn’t mean real terms protection per pupil, and it doesn’t mean protection for all elements of schools funding,” he said, adding that the Education Services Grant – which is handed to academies to cover the cost of services that would otherwise be provided by local authorities – would be “phased out”, saving £600m.

Per-pupil funding would fall in real terms to “lower than the system has been used to over many years”, he said, adding that on top of this, “[cost] pressures on the schools budget are clearly running at a pretty high level”.

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