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The real cost of education

The spend split

It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the amount spent on education is not equal throughout students’ educational journey. In the academic year 2017/18 the amount spent on primary school students in England was £4,700, compared to the £6,200 spent on secondary school students. 
Despite the figures, the priority is claimed to be in primary schools. In fact, since 1990 there’s been a 135% increase in spend, compared to an 86% on secondary schools spend. Figures clearly show spending in further education has been stunted, increasing by just 10% since the early 90s. 

University fees

The cost of university hits the headlines time and time again. From £3,000 per year, to well above £9,000, academics and students align are against the rising fees. Since 1990, the cost of an undergraduate degree has increased by around a fifth, that’s despite this the number of undergraduates doubling.
What do tuition fees pay for? Less than half of tuition fees paid by students is spent on teaching. In fact, the breakdown of spending shows that 39% of tuition fees contributes towards academic staff, course equipment and staff-related costs, while 36% covers: buildings, libraries, IT, sports, administration fees and widening access to poorer applicants. An additional 17% is invested back to “enhancing teaching, research infrastructure and the student experience”, and 8% is spent on professional services including finance, marketing and the vice-chancellor’s pay. 

“Little extra” funding

Chancellor Philip Hammond has recently announced that UK schools with receive an extra £400m to spend on “little extras”, these “extras” are said to include whiteboards & computers. This has sparked outrange from teachers across the nation, some argue schools are financially struggling and are considering shortening the school week or cutting staff just to cope. 
The current budget allows schools the average amount of £10,000 for primary schools and £50,000 for secondary schools. The NAO estimates than an additional £6.7 billion is needed just to bring England’s school buildings back to a satisfactory standard. Without this funding, schools are forced to find other means to support the further improvements needed on buildings and teaching equipment. 

The future of spend on education

According to National Audit Office, by 2019/20 schools will face cuts of 8%, despite government spend forecasted to increase to £38 billion. However, the Department of Education have stated that schools will need to save £3 billion by 2019/20 to cope with the increase in cost, with relation to staff wages and pension schemes. This means that schools will have to spend less per pupil to stay within budget. Shockingly it’s been predicted that staffing costs will accommodate for 57% of the saving from schools. 

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