Those education cuts in full...

24 May 2010

Education has taken its share of the £6.243 billion of savings to the current year's government spending plans.

The Department for Education will making savings of £670 million. Much of this is made up of savings on education quangos. The education-IT quango Becta will be closed. However, other parts of the DfE savings are likely to impinge more directly on schools. As yet, though, we have not been given this detail.

The Department for Education has confirmed that no other education quango will close immediately. However it is understood that the QCDA will close eventually but this will require legislation. 

Other savings to be made at education quangos include:

  • National College for School Leadership - £16 million
  • Training & Development Agency - £30 million
  • School Food Trust - £1 million
  • Childrens Workforce Development Council - £15 million
  • QCDA - £8 million
  • Becta - £10 million
  • Total for 2010/11: £80 million

 The former Schools Minister, Jim Knight, lamented the axing of Becta, saying 'closing Becta ends the huge added learning in poor families from the Home Access Progamme & damages our global lead in education tech exports'.

However, the Chancellor, George Osborne, said the savings meant that he was now able to make a commitment  that 'we didn't think possible before', namely to protect spending in 2011-11 on schools, Sure Start and 16-19 education. Any savings in these areas will be reinvested in front-line services.

This protection is only guaranteed for the current financial year. However it means money allocated to school budgets for 2010-11 will not be affected by reductions.

Some of the savings will be reinvested in creating 50,000 extra adult apprenticeships. This will cost £150 million and the apprenticeship places will be focused on small and medium enterprises. 

There will be £50 million invested in capital investment for FE colleges. This can be leveraged with other income to make a total fund of £150 million for those colleges most in need.  

 University places:

 There will be 10,000 new university places in addition to the total announced last December. 8,000 of these will be full-time places, and 2,000 will be part-time.

However,  the extra 20,000 places (some full-time and some part-time) announced in Labour's last Budget this year will  not now be funded.

David Laws said: 'We will proceed with Higher Education modernisation funding for an additional 10,000 university places, in addition to those allocated in the December 2009 grant letter. Good value for money bids have not been received for the full 20,000 additional places initially envisaged, so we have made a saving here'.

The University and College Union says the net reduction in places has 'dashed the hopes of thousands of people' who've applied to university this year.

Train To Gain:

David Laws: 'There will be cuts in schemes which we consider to have low value for money – including in Train to Gain.'

Reaction from Becta:

Graham Badman, Chairman and Stephen Crowne, Chief Executive of Becta said:

 “Naturally we are very disappointed at the Government’s decision. Becta is a very effective organisation with an international reputation, delivering valuable services to schools, colleges and children. Our procurement arrangements save the schools and colleges many times more than Becta costs to run. Our Home Access programme will give laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children.

 “Our top priorities now are to make sure we have an orderly and fair process for staff, and that as far as possible schools, colleges and children continue to benefit from the savings and support that Becta has provided. We will be talking to Government Departments and our other stakeholders including the industry about this.”

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