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Published on October 25th, 2011 | by Lorna Gledhill
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="(c) ChrisM70"]Disproportionate funding cuts to education[/caption] Just as a report co-ordinated by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office reveals that the majority of those arrested during the August riots came from deprived areas and had the poorest educational backgrounds, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reported that education spending is set to fall by 14.4% between 2010/11 and 2014/15. Researchers have warned that the redistribution and reduction of the educational budget has resulted in unequal cuts across various services. Whilst school funding has remained relatively consistent, sixth form and early years (under 5s) education is set to receive 20% cuts each in real terms. Whilst a Department of Education spokesman reiterates that the schools budget will increase by £3.6bn over the next four years, this fails to address the crux of the problem. Early years education and support are crucial components necessary to counteract the problem of entrenched educational inequality. The cut proposed to the Early Intervention Grant - which combined aspects of Sure Start, early years and youth services – is more than the average cut to resource spending across the department as a whole. The IFS states explicitly, “early years and youth spending are due to receive a disproportionately large cut.” The government is keen to reiterate their dedication to the pupil premium scheme, allocating a rough figure of £430 per disadvantaged pupil to individual schools. This means that spending on this scheme will grow to £2.5 billion by 2014/15, but given the freeze in other per-pupil spending, the majority of schools are still expected to see real term cuts in 2011-12. Almost to compound an already gloomy vision, sixth form spending is set to fall by a further 15.8% between 2011/12 and 2014/15. As the government is set to increase the educational leaving age from 16 to 18, requiring students to stay in some form of education or training until the age of 18, these reduced funds will be further stretched over an increasing population in education. Thus, the number of resources per head will decline by even more than total spending. The IFS reports that the state-funded school population in England is expected to grow from 6.95 million in 2010-11 to 7.14 million by 2014/15; even potentially increased resources in the school sector will be distributed amongst more students. Whilst Universities are able to reconstruct funding through (enforced) higher private contributions, early years and young peoples’ education does not have the same opportunity. Earlier this year, Unite Union carried out a Freedom of Information request to councils in England and Wales about the potential loss of youth services, discovering that one in five youth centres will be shut down over the next few years. Relying on the private sector to fill the void created by public spending cuts is a dangerous game, and one the government cannot afford to lose. When it is clear that educational inequality compounds other levels of alienation and dissatisfaction, as shown by the recent analysis of the August riots, slashing the funding to early years and late teens support seems not only dangerous, but foolish. In the words of the IFS, “Even if there are offsetting improvements in the productivity of the inputs into education, such improvements could well have taken place in the absence of cuts to those inputs.”    

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Cuts to education budget targets early years and youth spending

Disproportionate funding cuts to education

(c) ChrisM70

Just as a report co-ordinated by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office reveals that the majority of those arrested during the August riots came from deprived areas and had the poorest educational backgrounds, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reported that education spending is set to fall by 14.4% between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

Researchers have warned that the redistribution and reduction of the educational budget has resulted in unequal cuts across various services. Whilst school funding has remained relatively consistent, sixth form and early years (under 5s) education is set to receive 20% cuts each in real terms.

Whilst a Department of Education spokesman reiterates that the schools budget will increase by £3.6bn over the next four years, this fails to address the crux of the problem. Early years education and support are crucial components necessary to counteract the problem of entrenched educational inequality. The cut proposed to the Early Intervention Grant – which combined aspects of Sure Start, early years and youth services – is more than the average cut to resource spending across the department as a whole. The IFS states explicitly, “early years and youth spending are due to receive a disproportionately large cut.”

The government is keen to reiterate their dedication to the pupil premium scheme, allocating a rough figure of £430 per disadvantaged pupil to individual schools. This means that spending on this scheme will grow to £2.5 billion by 2014/15, but given the freeze in other per-pupil spending, the majority of schools are still expected to see real term cuts in 2011-12.

Almost to compound an already gloomy vision, sixth form spending is set to fall by a further 15.8% between 2011/12 and 2014/15. As the government is set to increase the educational leaving age from 16 to 18, requiring students to stay in some form of education or training until the age of 18, these reduced funds will be further stretched over an increasing population in education. Thus, the number of resources per head will decline by even more than total spending. The IFS reports that the state-funded school population in England is expected to grow from 6.95 million in 2010-11 to 7.14 million by 2014/15; even potentially increased resources in the school sector will be distributed amongst more students.

Whilst Universities are able to reconstruct funding through (enforced) higher private contributions, early years and young peoples’ education does not have the same opportunity. Earlier this year, Unite Union carried out a Freedom of Information request to councils in England and Wales about the potential loss of youth services, discovering that one in five youth centres will be shut down over the next few years.

Relying on the private sector to fill the void created by public spending cuts is a dangerous game, and one the government cannot afford to lose. When it is clear that educational inequality compounds other levels of alienation and dissatisfaction, as shown by the recent analysis of the August riots, slashing the funding to early years and late teens support seems not only dangerous, but foolish. In the words of the IFS, “Even if there are offsetting improvements in the productivity of the inputs into education, such improvements could well have taken place in the absence of cuts to those inputs.”

 

 

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  • judith

    How can the government ignore all the research that supports the value of quallity early years services in providing children with the best chance of having the the required dispositions and attitudes to learning that will enable them to enjoy and achieve, by slashing the funding for early years by 20%? This is an outrage and destroys all the good work that has been done over the past ten years to get the recognition that early years providers deserve!!! Parents rely on this services to work, early years workers rely on these services for employment, children rely on these services to increase their life chances. Another conservative policy that shows their complete ignorance of what ordinary people want and need!!!

  • Lorna

    I completely agree – it is shocking to see how govt still refuses to learn from both history and research!

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