Falling rolls a 'tremendous opportunity' to address school budget pressures

With the schools budget facing a perfect storm of cost pressures across four key areas, the next government has a “tremendous opportunity” to reinvest the £3.5bn that will be saved by 2028 due to falling rolls.
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The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published an analysis highlight huge pressure on school budgets in England (Sibieta, 2024) to help inform the debate in the run-up to the July 4 general election.

In particular, it sets out funding pressures across four key areas, increasing SEN and strain on the high needs budget, the dilapidated state of many school buildings, recruitment and retention challenges and the link to on-going teacher pay demands, and rapid increases in school costs.

This is all set against a background of no growth, in real-terms, to per-pupil funding since 2010.

However, the author of the analysis, Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the IFS, said that policy-makers in the next Parliament will have access to a potential £3.5bn windfall, which is the amount expected to be saved due to falling rolls.

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