Cash boost for education in Devon

schoolchild hands on computer

Posted on: 5 September 2019

Devon could see an extra £20 million for education over the next two years following the Government’s spending review.

Initial calculations suggest Devon County Council could receive an extra £11.7 million next year and £9.5 million in 2021/22.

In addition there could be an extra £8.6 million to help support children with special needs next year.

But education chiefs are still waiting to see the details behind the Chancellor’s announcement that he intends to level up funding for historically under-funded areas.

Currently every pupil in a Devon school is worth almost £300 less than the national average because of historic under-funding.

And that has meant schools in the county have not enjoyed the levels of funding promised nationally.

In Wednesday’s statement the Chancellor promised a minimum of £5,000 for every secondary school pupil and £3,750 next year for every primary school pupil rising to £4,000 the year after.

Cllr John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

County council leader John Hart said he would need to see the small print in the Government’s funding announcement – for example whether the £6,000 extra for teachers’ starting salaries had to be funded out of the new money.

But he added: “We have been campaigning with headteachers, governors and parents for fairer funding for Devon’s schools and the promise to ‘level up’ under-funded areas is one I very much welcome.

“It’s also encouraging to see Mr Javid announcing a three-year funding cycle for education as compared to the single year for other services.

“That gives heads and governors the ability to plan with some certainty.

“The boost for special needs education is also very welcome because we are facing intense pressure. But the amount Devon is likely to receive is about half of the current overspend on this vital service in this year alone.”

Councillor James McInnesDevon’s Cabinet Member for schools and deputy leader, James McInnes, is also chairman of the national campaign group f40 which represents the worst funded education authorities in the country.

He said: “We are delighted the Government has recognised schools have been underfunded for too long and is injecting much-needed cash into education.

“The extra funding for special educational needs is also extremely welcome as schools and local authorities across the country have struggled to meet the growing need and have found it simply impossible to make their budgets stretch.

“This is a huge step in the right direction that will go some way to repairing the damage caused by underfunding in recent years.

“This is an important beginning of Government accepting that education funding needs a long-term plan.”

In a report on the statement to Devon’s Cabinet next Wednesday, County Treasurer Mary Davis concludes: “Education services and social care services provided to both adults and children are operating under huge financial strain.

“The need for those services is very great and growing both in terms of cost and complexity.

“This is taking place against a background of unprecedented political uncertainty.

“The council will need to show great resolve and ingenuity to make sure that it maintains the correct balance between funding services sufficiently and retaining its financial sustainability.”

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Posted in: Education | Politics