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News - 23 May 2013

School budget cuts will not be harmful

According to The Must Do Better report from Reform there is no clear link between more spending and higher achievement - and calls for the lifting of the ring-fenced protection on school budgets.

The Reform report, ahead of next month's public spending review, argues that protecting school budgets is not necessarily the same as protecting school standards.

It says spending could be cut by 18% without any cut in pupil achievement - with this 18% figure based on an Institute for Fiscal Studies estimate on how much departmental spending across Whitehall will need to fall by 2017-18.

The Reform think tank, which promotes reform of public sector services, says spending on primary and secondary level education in the UK rose by 86% in real terms in the decade between 2001-02 and 2011-12.

It argues, using performance measures, such as Ofsted inspections and comparing schools' value-added results in English and maths, that there is "no correlation at all between spending and outcomes".

Co-author of the report, Ms Kimberley Trewhitt says that raising the quality of teaching is recognised as having a positive impact on pupil performance.

As such, schools might want to "grasp the nettle" by spending on teachers and making savings on teaching assistants.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, attacked the report as "simplistic" and being built on "false assertions" about levels of spending received by schools, and that level of cuts would make many schools "impossible to run".

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

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