Swindon schools to receive more money per pupil this year
By Jamie Hill - 4 October 2023
Schools in Swindon will get more money for their pupils in this academic year, new figures show.
However, experts have warned many schools in England will still be left short of funds as the education system's budget increase has not kept up with inflation.
Department for Education figures show Swindon schools will have an average budget of £5,059 per pupil in the new 2023-24 academic year – an increase of 5.4% from £4,801 the previous year.
Inflation stood at 6.3% in the 12 months to August. The Association of School and College Leaders expressed concerns the “financial situation will continue to be extremely challenging.”
Julia Harnden, funding specialist at the ASCL, said: “While school funding will increase by around 6.8% in 2023-24, this is against a background of very high inflation – which peaked at 11.1% last October on the Consumer Price Index measure – and cuts to real-term per-pupil funding of 9% between 2010 and 2019.”
Budgets varied widely across England, with schools in inner London having the most money allocated per child – £6,559, while those in the South West will only have an average budget of £5,030.
Joe Hallgarten, CEO of the Centre for Education and Youth, said: “While many regional disparities in school spending need exploring and addressing, it is more urgent to ensure that those schools whose pupils face multiple disadvantages including poverty are provided with greater resources to recruit the best teachers and offer other support for their young people.”
In Swindon, schools will have a total budget of £244 million. Of this, £2.3 million is allocated to special education needs support, which includes services for visual, hearing and physical impairment, specific learning difficulties such as speech, language and communication, as well as severe learning difficulties and autism.
Another £13 million will go towards funding for high needs places, which enables those who due to exclusion, illness, or other reasons, cannot receive their education in mainstream schools, to fully participate in education and learning.
The planned expenditure on SEND services for schools in England has increased by 5.9% to £588 million this academic year.
Mr Hallgarten said: “Although local authority spending on SEND and inclusion is rising, resources are simply not keeping up with the growth in need and demand.
“Our whole system for supporting pupils with SEND and those who are at risk of exclusion needs serious, short- and long-term reform.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “School funding in England will be at its highest level in history reaching over £59.6 billion next year, as measured by the IFS.”