Here, we explore the three major parties’ school funding plans should they prove successful in the upcoming election.
All three of the major parties have pledged to protect school funding in some form, as noted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Labour and Liberal Democrats have pledged to carefully monitor and keep inflationary track of overall school budget. The Conservative party however have proposed a scheme designed to protect per-pupil spending. As yet, none of the parties have specified how tightly they plan to control school budgets and spending.
Worryingly, the proposed plans of all three parties may fall short according to the IFS, who have stated the promises are “much less generous than the small real-terms increase in spending per pupil experienced over the current parliament.”
It is anticipated that an additional 880,000 new school places will be required by the 2023, averaging more than 100,000 per year – putting increased stress on the Government to free up funds to support free academies and students.
The Conservative party have pledged to deliver an additional 500 free schools by 2020, creating an additional 270,000 new places. This is roughly 30% of the required additional space estimated to be required by 2023. The party insists that the proposal has been successfully initiated but the exact nature and structure of its continuation has so far ‘not been precisely agreed’.
Labour has stressed their position to restrict opening new free schools in areas which have surplus spaces – pledging to increase student spaces in areas they are required. The party has also promised to continue opening new Academies which are independent of local authority control.
Labour has also recognised the importance on improving and expanding vocational education – giving students greater training in practical disciplines. This impetus upon vocational education could alter the structure of lessons and the classroom – necessitating greater room for practical education and combining this more efficiently with theoretical understanding.
Concerned that the current free-school plan would divert £4bn from mainstream school budgets, the Liberal Democrats have proposed a plan which would replace Academies with ‘Sponsor Managed Schools’, operated by educational charities and private providers. This plan would place responsibility under local authority control, not centralised in Whitehall.
Research by the Architect’s Journal suggests the majority of industry professionals do not think the current Government’s strategy is helping Britain build well-designed and effective classrooms. Only 23% believed the strategy for procuring schools is conducive to good design. Similarly, 60% of those asked in the poll believe that a Labour government would be better suited to producing good school and classroom design. Only 12% believe the Conservatives would be the best party to ensure good school design, bested by the Green Party who received 22% of support.
With the election looking to be one of the closest in years and the prospect of another coalition government looking quite likely, it is impossible to predict who will be in power by the end of the month. However, regardless of which party wins the election – Innova Design Group can help you create innovative and progressive classrooms in your school.
Discover how our expert team can help your school and visit our homepage or call us now on 0161 477 5300.