Schools will receive an extra £1.3 billion in funding over the next two years, the government has announced.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday, education secretary Justine Greening said funding per pupil would also be protected until 2020, after analysis by experts revealed many schools would face a real-terms cut under the Tory election pledge to increase the overall school budget by £4 billion this Parliament.
She said the government would press ahead with plans to introduce a national funding formula, as the current system is “unfair, opaque and out of date”.
“We believe all children should have an education that unlocks their potential and allows them to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them,” she told MPs.
“We recognise that during the election people were concerned about school funding. That is why I am confirming plans to get on with introducing a national funding formula in 2018/19. This will additionally now be supported by significant extra investment into the core schools budget over next two years.”
She said spending plans beyond 2020 would be set out “at a later date” and “efficiency savings” would be identified to pay for the latest funding pledge, including £200m from the free schools budget and £420m from the capital budget.
The announcement is in line with advice issued by the Education Policy Institute, the think-tank set up by former Lib Dem cabinet minister David Laws.
It recommended an increase of £1.3bn on top of budget commitments already made to offset a potential real-terms reduction in funding per child of 3%.
Greening is reported to have pushed for the additional funding announcement to be made ahead of Parliament breaking for summer recess on Thursday.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said the announcement “throws up more questions than it answers”.
″What has been announced today is just a sticking plaster,” she added.
“Per pupil funding will still fall over the course of this Parliament unless further action is taken urgently.”
Greens co-leader and the party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, said: “Despite the best efforts of this country’s teachers, schools are struggling to cope.
“The government is promising some new funds for our schools, but in the wake of the cuts already made and with pupil numbers set to rise this increase simply isn’t enough.
“What’s clear is that the Tories are trying to alleviate pressure on them – but I know that parents and teachers won’t give up this cause until schools have the funding they need to deliver world-class education to every child in this country.”