I would like to respond to the resolution of the House following the opposition day debate on school funding on 25 April.
School funding is at a record high and schools have benefitted from the introduction of the national funding formula, which came into force in April. The new formula is supported by our investment of an additional £1.3 billion in the core schools budget, on top of what was announced at the last spending review.
Core schools funding will rise from almost £41 billion last year, to £42.4 billion this year and £43.5 billion in 2019-20. This means that real terms per pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50% higher than it was in 2000.
The new national funding formula is an historic reform which means that, for the first time, resources are distributed according to a formula based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country.
The formula recognises the challenges of the very lowest funded schools, by introducing a minimum per pupil funding level. Under the national funding formula, in 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil.
Moreover, the formula allocates every local authority more money for every pupil in every school in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Final decisions on local distribution will be taken by local authorities, but under the national funding formula every school is attracting at least 0.5% more per pupil in 2018-19, and 1% more in 2019-20, compared to 2017-18.
We recognise that the introduction of the national funding formula represents a significant change to the way schools are funded. To provide stability for authorities and schools through the transition, we have previously confirmed that in 2018-19 and 2019-20 each local authority will continue to set a local formula, in consultation with local schools.
Many local councils feel that the right thing to do is to replicate the national funding formula locally, and we support and encourage this. However, we recognise that some areas will want to use their local flexibility to introduce a more tailored local formula, for instance because of local changes in characteristics, rapid growth in pupil numbers or the need to invest more in pupils with SEN or disabilities.
After too many years in which the funding system has placed our schools on an unfair playing field, we are finally making the historic move towards fair funding. Alongside the increased investment we are making in schools, this will underpin further improvements in standards and help create a world-class education system, and build a system that allows every child to achieve their potential, no matter their background.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords