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Conservative Government Poses Biggest Threat To School Funding, IFS Claims

'Our schools are in crisis.'

26/05/2017 10:12 | Updated 26 May 2017

A Tory win in the General Election would pose the biggest threat to school funding, a leading think tank has warned. 

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), schools could face a real-terms cut of almost 3% by 2021/22 under the Conservatives, despite a pledge by the party to boost education spending by £4 billion during this period. 

Researchers found that a Labour government would see pupil spending boosted by 6% over the same five years, with the party vowing to reverse cuts made since 2015. 

And the Liberal Democrats’ plans would mean per pupil spending was protected in real terms at the 2017/18 level, the Press Association reported.  

POOL New / Reuters
Schools could face cuts of almost 3% under a Tory government, say IFS 

The research comes as part of a new IFS paper examining each of the main political parties’ proposals for school spending. 

It comes amid continued concerns from school leaders, teachers and parents about a growing squeeze on school budgets.

Reacting to the figures, Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said there is now “no doubt” about what Tory plans will mean for education. 

“Our schools will see their budgets cut,” she said. 

“And head teachers have warned us what the consequences will be for parents and pupils: fewer teachers, larger classes, a narrower curriculum, or even a shorter school week.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised the Tories' plans

Lib Dem Sarah Olney added: “Under the Conservatives our schools are in crisis”. 

But schools minister Nick Gibb hit back at the IFS’ claims, saying “Jeremy Corbyn can’t deliver any of his promises on school spending”. 

“This analysis shows his numbers categorically do not add up and he is too much of a shambles to negotiate a Brexit deal that works for Britain.

“We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022 – a real terms rise for every year of the Parliament compared to current spending plans – and ensure that no school has its budget cut as a result of a fair funding formula.” 

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