Spending per pupil to fall by eight per cent

IFS contend that school funding levels will feel quite different in the next five years from the previous five. According to the report, schools are set to face real-term reduction in spending per pupil for the first time since the 1990s.

The study claims that although there will be similar growth in nominal spending to that in the last Parliament, resources will shrink due to rising costs and increasing pupil numbers.

Key costs increases include the average public-sector pay settlement of one per cent per year; a rise in National Insurance contributions from April 2016 and an increase in employer pension contributions.

The report says that: "Taking these together with pressures on other costs, we forecast that school spending per pupil is likely to fall by around eight per cent in real terms [based on a school-specific measure of inflation] between 2014-15 and 2019-20.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education (DfE) argued: “We are protecting the schools budget, which will rise as pupil numbers increase and have made significant progress towards fairer funding for schools.

“This government is committed to making sure schools are funded fairly so all pupils have access to a good education - a key part of our core mission to raise standards across the country and make sure every child reaches their full potential.”

The National Union of Teachers stated that many schools and colleges were already struggling financially.

Deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “At a time when we face major problems with teacher supply, IFS notes that the government's pay cap of one per cent could make recruitment and retention more difficult.

“With pupil numbers rocketing, we need to recruit more teachers just to stand still and we need to invest in capital funding to provide the new places needed.”

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