Schools across Milton Keynes face, in common with schools across England, real-terms funding cuts for years to come if the Conservatives win the General Election, according to analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS)
The independently produced figures show year-on-year falls over the coming parliamentary term despite a Conservative manifesto promise to redirect £1bn in additional funding to state schools by slashing free school meals for infants.
The IFS said that school funding would fall by nearly 3% by 2021 even with the additional £1bn a year, after adjusting for inflation and a rise in students enrolled. The Conservatives are failing to take account of forecast growth in pupil numbers.
The IFS said “This equates to a real-terms cut in spending per pupil of 2.8% between 2017–18 and 2021–22. Adding this to past cuts makes for a total real-terms cut to per-pupil spending of around 7% over the six years between 2015–16 and 2021–22,”(i) The mainstream schools budget for Milton Keynes is £179 million in 2017/18. (ii) For mainstream Schools; this is £716 million over next 4 years (£920 million overall). A 7% cut is £50.12 million for mainstream schools.
Milton Keynes has 110 schools and pupil numbers are expected to grow by around 15% or 5000 (excluding special schools) over the period 2016-2021. (iii) The Conservative cuts take no account of this growth.
Cllr Hannah O’Neill, Deputy Leader of Milton Keynes Council said, “These independent IFS calculations cast doubt on the pledge in the Tory manifesto, launched by Theresa May last week, which stated: “We will increase the overall schools budget by £4bn by 2022, representing more than a real-terms increase for every year of the parliament.”
She added, “There is now no doubt about what Tory plans mean for Schools in Milton Keynes. They will see their budgets cut by £50 million over next 4 years.”
She concluded, “The IFS analysis is clear: only Labour will give schools the resources they need to deliver a world-class education for the many, not just the few.”
(ii) In addition to spending on mainstream schools of 179m in 2017/18 a further £51 million funds special schools and early years.
(iii) School Place Planning 2017-2018. MKC.