Government spending review could mean cash boost for Devon schools

Devon could net an extra £20million for education over the next two years following the Government’s spending review.

Initial calculations suggest the county council could receive an extra £11.7million next year and £9.5million in 2021/22.

In addition, there could be an extra £8.6million to help support children with special needs in 2020.

But education chiefs are still waiting to see the details behind the Chancellor Sajid Javid’s announcement that he intends to level up funding for historically under-funded areas.

Currently, every pupil in a Devon school is worth almost £300 less than the national average.

And that has meant schools in the county have not enjoyed the levels of funding promised nationally.

In Wednesday’s statement, the Chancellor promised a minimum of £5,000 for every secondary school pupil – and £3,750 next year, rising to £4,000 in 2021.

Devon County Council (DCC) leader John Hart said he would need to ‘see the small print’ in the Government’s funding announcement – for example, whether the £6,000 extra for teachers’ starting salaries had to be funded out of the new money.

Councillor Hart added: “We have been campaigning with headteachers, governors and parents for fairer funding for Devon’s schools and the promise to ‘level up’ under-funded areas is one I very much welcome.

“It’s also encouraging to see Mr Javid announcing a three-year funding cycle for education as compared to the single year for other services.

“That gives heads and governors the ability to plan with some certainty.

“The boost for special needs education is also very welcome because we are facing intense pressure. But the amount Devon is likely to receive is about half of the current overspend on this vital service in this year alone.”

Devon’s cabinet member for schools Cllr James McInnes added: “This is a huge step in the right direction that will go some way to repairing the damage caused by underfunding in recent years.”

In a report on the statement to Devon’s cabinet on Wednesday, county treasurer Mary Davis concludes: “Education services and social care services provided to both adults and children are operating under huge financial strain.

“The need for those services is very great and growing both in terms of cost and complexity.

“This is taking place against a background of unprecedented political uncertainty.

“The council will need to show great resolve and ingenuity to make sure that it maintains the correct balance between funding services sufficiently and retaining its financial sustainability.”

Action call as it’s revealed 6,344 East Devon children are living in poverty – with households in Exmouth, Honiton and Sidford among most deprived

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