The government is trying to shore up the transparent big lie that “we are all in this together”  with further lies in the Comprehensive Spending Review – not least in the area of education, which they hope we will believe will be “protected” in England – though they don’t even make this pretence for schools in Wales, Scotland and the north of Ireland.

In fact overall education spending is to be cut year on year. and though they try to hide how – NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates said that trying to work out the implications is “like knitting fog” – we can see the following immediately

  • Spending on rebuilding and refurbishing crumbling state school buildings will be slashed by 60%, with over 700 priority school building projects immediately cancelled
  • School budgets will have real terms cuts as spending per pupil is “maintained” or, more accurately, frozen at current levels, with inflation eating its value away. A derisory 0.1% “increase” promised in the light of increasing primary pupil numbers will not meet these children’s needs
  • It is from these real cuts that the much hyped Lib Dem policy of “pupil premium” for disadvantaged children is possibly to be financed – though under pressure the Government say they may take it from non-education welfare and benefit cuts.  Either way, there is no extra money… another ConDem Coalition lie.
  • The 28% cut to Local Authorities grant funding will mean year on year savage cuts to the services they provide directly to schools – for example Education Advisory services, support for children with behaviour problems and special education needs etc
  • Youth Clubs, after school activities and community playgrounds are all scheduled to be axed.
  • A confidential projection from Department for Education officials suggests  that 40,000 teachers and many more support staff will lose their jobs as school budgets reduce year on year in real terms
  • As jobs go in both public and private sectors, school and college leavers will be unable to find jobs. A proposed raising of the school leaving age to 18 by the end of this parliament in an attempt to disguise youth unemployment will be unfunded despite the enormous pressures schools will experience.
  • The abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance, an essential for the poorest pupils to access further education as a right, exposes the lie of “government concern for disadvantaged young people”. Much reduced continuing funding of this type will be distributed on a random “grace and favour” basis by Headteachers, given the choice of selecting those who can demonstrate “financial barriers” – the hated means test. Access to further education will be greatly reduced
  • There are to be huge funding cuts for universities – combined with increased fees to students resulting in ever greater debt for college leavers
  • There are no commitments to apprenticeships or real vocational training
  • Youth workers and agencies are already predicting a new “lost generation” of young people
  • Teachers will have their salaries cut through pay “freeze” coupled with inflation and higher pension contribution. Deferred salary – teachers’ pensions - are under attack along with all public sector pensions… both in value terms and raised retirement ages

Meanwhile there will not be a shortage of money for projects designed to break up and privatise the education system. Osborne reinforced the ConDems’ plans by saying, "Parents, teachers and community groups will be supported if they wish to establish free schools," – showing clearly  that the ConDems are using the economic crisis, brought about by the inherent flaws and contradictions in the capitalist free market system, as an opportunity to attack public services – including education – and turn them over to… the capitalist free market system.