IFS on Tories’ pupil premium policy: one in 10 schools could suffer 10%+ budget cuts

The ‘pupil premium’ – the Lib Dem proposal to invest an extra £2.5bn in schools which could be used to cut class sizes, offer one-on-one tuition and provide catch-up classes – is a policy which Nick Clegg has passionately advocated for over seven years. It is now one of the party’s four key policies emphasising fairness – in this case, A fair start for every child – for the coming general election.

This week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies – the independent financial research institute often quoted by the party to validate its economic policies – published an analysis of the pupil premium, and the impact it might have. They gave a cautious welcome to the Lib Dems’ proposal:

There are a number of options in designing a pupil premium. One could implement a pupil premium on top of all existing funding that schools receive, as proposed by the Liberal Democrats. Of the options we consider, this approach tends to benefit schools the most financially and would naturally weight funding more towards disadvantaged pupils. This option would clearly avoid any school losing its existing funding. However, funding must be found from other sources: the Liberal Democrats have proposed cutting tax credits to above-average-income families, as well as reducing other areas of spending. The gains in terms of extra funding for disadvantaged schools need thus to be set against the impact of the measures required to pay for them.

Here, though, is what the IFS says about the Tories’ preferred method of implementing the pupil premium under which local authorities’ role in school funding decisions would be replaced with a single national formula determined by central government. (So much for the Tories’ much-vaunted localism agenda, eh?)

… depending on the exact option chosen, around one in ten schools could still experience cuts in excess of 10% of their existing funding. More detailed analysis of a national funding formula also illustrates a key problem with such a reform: the concentration of gains and losses in particular local authorities. This pattern does not show up as an urban/rural split; instead, it is likely to reflect local authority choices over services provided centrally, the relative priority given to primary and secondary schools, and historical factors.

As David Laws, the Lib Dems’ shadow schools secretary, points out:

This independent report confirms the Tories’ proposals would be disastrous for thousands of schools, wrecking opportunities for millions of children. The Conservatives’ plans will mean many schools have their budgets slashed.”

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 7th Apr - 9:03pm
    Matt, I am actually feeling sad for you now, coping as you are with your stressful and worrying home situation but also being so distressed...
  • User AvatarJames Bliss 7th Apr - 8:39pm
    I totally agree with Tom and his article. As a party we all too often fall into supporting totally illiberal policies, like the sugar levy...
  • User Avatarexpats 7th Apr - 7:24pm
    With Johnson incapacitated Raab has shown that he has all the qualifications to replace him. When asked who would 'carry the can' if the government...
  • User AvatarLee Allane 7th Apr - 7:20pm
    The Liberal Democrat Leadership has been conspicuous by it's absence throughout the entire coronavirus crisis. They should have been screaming from the rooftops at Johnson's...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 7th Apr - 7:18pm
    Richard Underhill: I imagine the Bruch is just as popular today.
  • User Avatarmatt 7th Apr - 6:55pm
    I dislike the idea of a sugar tax because it does tend to hit the poorest harder, however, I would like to see legislation that...
Mon 27th Apr 2020