Funding gap between state and private schools has widened, report finds

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The average private school fees are 90 percent higher than the student spending per state school, according to a new report, which found that the gap in funding had widened.

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that the gap between private and state school spending has more than doubled in just a decade.

One education union said it “sticks to the throat” to see the gap widening “to such an extent”.


The IFS found that private school fees for the previous academic year averaged £13,600.

By comparison, the total expenditure on state schools per student for the same year was £7,100, according to the Research Institute. report good.

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This means that the average private school student had £6,500 – or 91.5 percent – ​​more than the average student in a government school during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The IFS found that almost a decade ago the difference was £3,100, or 39 percent.

The research institute said that since 2009-10, the fees of private schools have increased by more than 20 percent after inflation.

Meanwhile, the state’s average school student spending has declined by nine per cent in real terms.

The shadow education secretary, Kate Green, said the school budget has been “hammered” over the past decade and it is “holding children back”.

Geoff Barton of the Association for School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: “It is outrageous that the government has cut funding for schools and colleges in real terms over the past decade, while increasing independent school fees over the same period. happened.

“There has always been a wealth gap between the two sectors, but the fact that it has widened to such a great extent sticks in the throat.”

He continued: “This means that state schools and colleges have been forced to cut back on things like subject choice, pastoral support and extra-curricular activities – and as secondary class sizes grow, independent schools have been able to make their provision. are able to improve in all these areas.”

The new report comes soon after Labor promised a £1.7bn tax on private schools to improve state schools at a party convention.

Luke Cibetta from the IFS, who authored the report, said: “The longstanding concern about inequalities between private and state school pupils, which have come into sharp focus during the pandemic, has not been easily addressed. while the sectors enjoy such different levels. of resources”.

The Covid pandemic saw most students twice asked to stay at home for extended periods, while students also tested positive and could not attend school due to isolation.

A recent analysis found that the gap between distance learning and classroom learning was greater in schools with more disadvantaged pupils.

The government and charities have released hundreds of thousands of laptops to help disadvantaged students with distance learning when they are unable to attend school during the pandemic.

But a study suggested that a third of disadvantaged students did not have access to the tools needed for online work between May and November last year.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “This government is providing the biggest uptick to school funding in a decade – £14 billion in total over the three years to 2022-23. This compared with funding levels for 2019-20 That includes an increase of £7.1 billion for schools by 2022-23.

“Next year, funding through schools is increasing by 2.8% per student compared to the National Funding Formula (NFF) 2021-22. NFF continues to deliver it fairly based on the needs of schools and their pupils.


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