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IFS Report Shows Schools Face 'Cliff Edge'

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



New schools funding formula will see some schools face fresh attacks as Prime Minister finds £1 billion for her pet grammar schools scheme.

The government’s ‘flawed’ new funding formula will see the hardest hit schools facing a “financial cliff edge” in 2020, according to a new study.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) [1] suggests 1,000 schools will be forced to take a massive hit of seven per cent per pupil when ‘transitional protections’ run out.

Every school in the country faces brutal cuts under the current plan – with £74,000 set to be slashed off primary school budgets on average while secondaries stand to lose £291,000.

Protections are in place to ensure no school should see a cash terms cut of more than 3%, or 6% in real-terms, before 2019-20.

However when even these protections end, 5% of schools - an estimated 1,000 - will then have to make huge savings of more than 7% to stay in line with the new formula.

GMB, the union for schools support staff, says these savage cuts are particularly divisive at a time when Theresa May has earmarked £1 billion for her Grammar schools vanity project - as exposed by GMB. [2]

Sharon Wilde, GMB National Officer for Schools, said:

“As if every single school facing cuts from this flawed funding formula wasn’t bad enough, we now find out those hardest hit will be speeding towards a financial cliff edge.

“These so-called 'transitional protections' are so flimsy that they are barely worth the name.

"Pupils, parents - and the staff who support them - are being exposed to a brutal attack on their resources.

“GMB members – the hidden professionals in our schools' forgotten army of support staff - will be in the firing line as these cuts begin to bite.

“Justine Greening is creating a ticking time bomb – a lost generation of children whose future will be snatched away by ill-conceived ideas of austerity.

“Yet despite this funding crisis, the Prime Minister can still find £1 billion for her pet grammar schools project.”


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or

Notes to editors

[1] ‘The short and long-run impact of the national funding formula for schools in England’ will be published on the IFS website

[2] Source - HMT Table 2.1: Spring Budget 2017 policy decisions,

Read more:

Budget 2017 Spending Decisions, Education (£ms)








(-) New spending








(+) New revenue take
















16-19 Technical Education: implement Sainsbury reforms








Education capital: extend free schools programme








Education capital: school investment








Free school transport: expand eligibility to selective schools










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