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Failure to stand up to austerity causing spend per pupil fall, claims Labour

Failure to stand up to austerity causing spend per pupil fall, claims Labour

Sunday 21 April 2019

Failure to stand up to austerity causing spend per pupil fall, claims Labour


Funding for pupils in Scotland has fallen by hundreds of pounds since 2010, according to Scottish Labour.

Analysis by the party of the Local Government Benchmarking Framework (LGBF) suggests that real terms spending per primary school pupil fell by £427 per head from £5,411 in 2010/2011 to £4,984 in 2017/2018.

The figures also indicate a fall in real terms spending for pupils at secondary schools – down by £265 from £7,145 to £6,880 over the same period.

Labour claims that Scottish Government policies, including the Pupil Equity Fund and the Scottish Attainment Challenge, are not coming close to reversing cuts that preceded them.

The party’s education spokesman, Iain Gray MSP, said: “For almost a decade now the SNP has failed to stand up to Tory austerity, and instead turned Holyrood into a conveyor belt for cuts.

“The consequences of that is huge falls in per head spending for our school pupils, with spending per primary pupil over £400 less in real terms than it was in 2010.

“We can’t give our young people the best chance to get on in life while cutting school budgets and we will not see the attainment gap close with overworked teachers facing increasing class sizes.

“Labour would make the richest pay our fair share to invest in our pupils, teachers and schools to make Scotland a world leader in education again.”

A spokesman for Education Secretary John Swinney said: “It takes some level of brass neck for Labour to blame the SNP for Tory austerity when they themselves campaigned to ensure that the Tories at Westminster will continue to set Scotland’s budget and be able to inflict austerity on our public services.

“It was Gordon Brown who kicked off austerity as prime minister, and the Tories who continued it with zeal.

“Despite the constraints placed on our budget by Westminster, total revenue spending on schools has risen by over £600 million since the SNP took office, and spend per pupil is increasing.

“Recent figures revealed that over 94% of pupils had a ‘positive destination’ – including work, training or further study – within three months of leaving school last year.

“They also showed pupils are staying at school for longer and gaining more qualifications between fourth and sixth year. The attainment gap between school leavers achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is at a record low.”

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