Thursday 19 September 2019 12:45 am

Further education £1bn worse off than 2010 despite higher spending, says report

Further education colleges and sixth forms will be £1bn short of what they would need to fully reverse cuts since 2010 despite extra government money, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said today.

Yet the leading economic think tank found that the extra money pledged by chancellor Sajid Javid to schools will “just about” reverse the cuts made in spending per pupil in English schools over the last decade.

At the start of this month, chancellor Sajid Javid used a spending round to pledge a four per cent increase in spending per student – about £300m extra when inflation is taken into account – for further education (FE) and sixth forms by 2020.

But the IFS today said: “Despite the increase announced for 2020, further education funding remains severely squeezed.” The increase would still leave spending per student in further education over seven per cent lower than in 2010, it said.

The deficit comes despite Javid’s pledges during his ill-fated bid for the Tory leadership that further education was a top priority. He said during his campaign: “We need an education system which supports our FE colleges.”

The IFS said that the £4.3bn (in inflation-adjusted terms) pledged to schools by 2022-23 will make up for the cuts made over the last 10 years, however. It said the boost represents a 7.4 per cent increase in spending per pupil.

IFS research fellow Luke Sibieta said: “The 2019 spending round provided genuinely substantial increases in school funding.” He added: “Of course, that still means no real growth in spending per pupil over a 13-year period.”

Javid used his September spending round to proclaim “the end of austerity” and unveil an increase in spending of £13.8bn for next year.

He said: “Education and skills are at the heart of our vision for national renewal.” The chancellor said the extra spending on schools would improve standards and give “every young person the same opportunities in life – wherever they live in our great country”.

The Department for Education has been approached for comment.

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