To hear in today’s spending review that the government is ring-fencing money for education is supposed to make us all breath a deep sigh of relief. Of course, it’s the usual sleight of hand. We should be deeply concerned that money for the ideologically driven ‘free schools’ programme will get a massive boost at the expense of what the country really needs. Schools are still crumbling in the wake of Gove’s decision to axe the Building Schools for the Future plan but we can apparently afford to fork out to refurbish a disused warehouse to make it into a ‘free’ school where no new school is needed. What about the looming crisis over primary school places? Maybe the market will sort that out! And interesting that George Osborne knows in 2013 that in 2015-15 exactly 180 of these schools will spring up in response to consumer demand!
Oh good, the ‘pupil premium’ is still with us which, as everyone knows, is used creatively by schools to make up for short-falls elsewhere. Local Councils lose out big time in the ‘spending review’ so schools will have somehow to compensate for the services they used to get. And now all those civil servants will be in the same boat as teachers and will lose their annual increments. Repeat after me “public service bad, private enterprise good”.
Cuts in the Business Department budget will mean student grants will stand still at £3387 and the further education budget is being cut by £260 million. Not all good news then.