In Bedfordshire during 2008-9 we spent £3,961 per pupil on education; the national average is £187 (sorry £197) per pupil higher and we are £79 per pupil behind our statistical neighbours.
It is self-evident that the more money is available per pupil, then the higher the quality of educational provision is possible, as long as of course this money was given direct to schools rather than spent on bureaucracy.
To put this in context, in a school of 400 pupils (a nice human-sized middle school for example), this would provide about £80K extra. This might be 2 teachers’ worth. Meaning that other teachers could be freed to concentrate on liaison with lower and upper schools – that troublesome transition that Ofsted hasn’t seemed to have identified in any reports…or it could provide extra Learning Support Assistants, or help provide extra subject specialists, or funding for visits, or books, or computers, or…
Oh well, perhaps the nanny-state knows best after all. Maybe schools don’t need that money. Maybe it would be wasted on schools.
Maybe we need to ask local government why we are underspending on our children?
POSTSCRIPT: In 2009-10 in Bedford Borough, the underspend was £220 per pupil – even greater – and that is another £8K for that average middle school. Astonishing.