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Academies to Receive Increased Funding: Autumn Statement 2012

by SG World
December 12, 2012

The Chancellor, George Osborne’s autumn statement announced spending cuts in all Whitehall departments, barring four, to allow extra investment in schools, infrastructure and transport, science and technology. Despite some hue and cry over the policy, the commitment to extra money for academy schools is undeniably a positive move, with the goal of building 100 new academy schools and free schools, creating space for 50,000 new pupils.

On 5th December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and also the Second Lord of the Treasury, George Osborne announced t hat every department would cut their spending by 1% in the year 2013/2014 and by a further 2% in 2014/2015. This decrease in funding comes amid continuing economic difficulties in the UK and around the world, and are an attempt to save money for the Government.

An estimated £950 million is expected to be saved from this spending cut in the first year and about £2.5 billion would be assimilated from the initiative in the second year. The departments that have been excluded from making these spending cuts include health, education, HM Revenue and Customs, international development and nuclear decommissioning.

Illustration of budget jarAlthough there have been a few critics of this policy, it is not only a much-needed development, and one that has had a positive response from academy schools across the country. The number of primary school pupils that existing schools enrol is increasing with each passing year, and according to estimates by the government and also by independent agencies, there would be a need to accommodate 450,000 more children in primary schools in 2015. On a yearly basis, there could be a surge of close to a hundred thousand students that could potentially put considerable straing on the existing infrastructure. New academies, and redeveloping or expanding existing ones, are appearing to be an effective and affordable solution.

Several schools have found themselves having to resort to makeshift classrooms and many existing classes are already overcrowded with pupils . This is a stressful situation for pupils and staff alike, and seems to occur particularly in the larger cities of England. Steering a spending cut to revamp the entire infrastructure of schools at all levels can, as a result, be considered a constructive step to take.

The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have praised the decision and there seems to be unanimous support within the Conservative Party. According to the announcement, the first attempt to expand the capacity would be to offer places to around 50,000 extra pupils across various cities and towns.

The solution to the problems within the education system and its funding are complex and will take time to solve. However this much-needed extra cash is a welcome development to supporters of academy and free schools, and any investment in the country's education system is typically considered to be an unavoidable outlay which will help to support the entire country's future.

(Photo Credits: Altogetherfool and Tax Credits)

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