Understandably there are rules about what food manufacturers can print on the side of the packets of food we buy, and also regulations regarding how companies can advertise their goods. The same is true in other sectors of our consumer market. Few people would argue for such regulations to be reversed. Yet when it comes to statements made by politicians there appears to be very little that the rest of society can do to challenge or correct their more fanciful comments and promises. Whilst the successors of the Screaming Lord Sutch are recognised as being willing to say and do things that the rest of us might not believe is entirely reliable, when it comes to Government statements about public expenditure and policies, it does not seem unreasonable for some form of credibility check to take place. This week as this report explains, Justine Greening has announced that the Government intends to release an additional 1.3Bn to Schools in England over the next 2 years. “She explained that £420m of the money will come from efficiencies and savings across its main capital budget. The majority of this will be from healthy pupils capital funding, created to distribute money recouped from the government’s “sugar tax” for new sports facilities from 2018, which has been earmarked for £315m of savings. Meanwhile, savings of £280m have been earmarked from the budget for plans to create a further 140 free schools announced at the last budget. The remaining £700m will be found from the DfE resource budget, which currently stands at around £60bn a year. Greening said she will “reprioritise” £250m from this budget in 2018/19 and £350m in 2019/20. She added that she would redirect £200m from the department’s central programmes, but did not specify which programmes would be cut.”
Clearly to release additional funds into the hands of Head Teachers is a great thing to do if it will improve the quality of the education our children are receiving. However the reallocation of existing funding deserves some sort of clarification so that society as a whole and those involved in education in particular can be assured that this is not a matter of depriving even more important parts of the education programme. Governments seem very good at robbing from Peter to pay Paul and never fully being held accountable for their actions. We need a simple way of explaining what they do so that the rest of society is kept informed and is put in a position of holding them to account.