Some information for councillors and campaigners on the national party’s recent commitment to guarantee education funding for 2-19 year olds in the 2015 general election manifesto:

The Liberal Democrats will protect the full education budget in the next parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister has announced.

Nick Clegg said the party would ringfence education spending for 2 to 19-year-olds.

This means the Liberal Democrats would protect an extra £10billion of education spending based on this financial year, rising with inflation.

Currently funding is only protected for children aged between 5 and 16.

The Liberal Democrat leader made the announcement at his monthly press conference on Monday morning.

 Nick Clegg said: “Any parent knows that a child starts learning from the moment they are born and carries on learning all the way into adulthood.

“My vision is of an education system that starts early and keeps children engaged all the way through.

“That’s why I believe we need to go further than the current protections for our schools.

“I can announce today that in the next parliament, Liberal Democrats will protect the full education budget, covering children from the age of 2 to the age of 19 – from cradle to college.”

The Deputy Prime Minister added: “Money invested in our children is the best investment of all because education really can transform lives.

“We believe education should be properly funded because education is the very core of a liberal society.”



The situation now:

The Coalition has protected schools funding in real terms in the spending reviews of 2010 and 2013. In practice, this means that the Dedicated Schools Grant, which goes to local authorities, is £36.6billion in 2015/2016 (made up of the Schools Block, funding for 5 -16 year olds, at £31.5billion, and the High Needs Block, for children with special educational needs, at £4.9billion).

Local authorities allocate this money to schools with some flexibility. Schools have a “Minimum Funding Guarantee”, which guarantees minimal change from year to year.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats’ Pupil Premium is ringfenced funding for disadvantaged pupils. It has been increased with inflation and will be worth £2.545billion in 2015/16.

What The Liberal Democrats will protect:

The Early Years Block of the Dedication Schools Grant, which includes the free early years education entitlement for all 3 to 4 year olds; the new Early Years Pupil Premium, and the free early years education entitlement for 40 per cent of two year olds from low income homes.
The Department for Education’s 16 to 19 year old budget, which goes to schools and colleges.
Costs and Savings:

The existing schools ring fence covers £36.6billion of government spending in 2015/16. The pupil premium is an additional £2.545billion.

Including early years and 16 -19 education would mean protecting approximately a further £10billion of government spending in 2015/16. This would rise with inflation for subsequent years.

This £10billion includes:

Early Years – £3billion

£2.3billion on the free entitlement for 3 to 4 year olds.
£50million on the new Pupil Premium for disadvantaged 3 – 4 year olds.
£670million on the free entitlement for 40 per cent of 2 year olds.
DfE 16 to 19 year old budget – £7.1billion.

£6.4billion on schools and colleges (including £0.4billion High Needs funding).
Around £0.7billion on apprenticeships.

Olwyn Luckley says

As a school governor I support any policy that increases the life chances of any of our pupils who all live in a socially deprived area. However, the LEA budget for the pupil premium is to be cut by £6k according to the head teacher, due to the changes coming into force as a result of the Children's & Families bill and the new approach to the SEN provision. This is bad news for our school where resources are limited but needs substantial. Are other Lib Dem governors finding a similar situation in their schools?

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