Schools funding favouring Tory-held constituencies

BBC’s Newsnight has found that Conservative-held constituencies are the overwhelming beneficiaries of the Prime Minister’s increase in schools funding.

The Conservatives have made a number of spending announcements at their party conference in Manchester, having pledged to ‘level up’ funding for every primary school to a minimum of £4,000 per pupil by 2021-22 and £5,000 per pupil in secondary schools as part of the Spending Review last month.

However, the analysis shows that nine of the top 10 beneficiaries - in terms of boost per pupil in cash - are in Conservative-held constituencies. All but four of the 36 seats which get no uplift at all from this additional spending are Labour held, although they tend to have a higher level of base funding.

Furthermore, the research highlights that Labour-Tory marginal seats are over-represented when it comes to the government's promises of money for ‘left-behind’ towns.

Some commentators, including Natalie Perera of the Education Policy Institute, have been quick to defend the findings, stressing that ‘levelling up doesn't mean addressing social inequality’, and, in this context, means ‘bringing generally more affluent schools up to the same level of funding as more disadvantaged schools’.