4 February 2020
You can find the relevant publications relating to the Committee's work around Education. The Department for Education is on a par with the Department of Health and Social Care in terms of strains on funding and doubts over its long-term sustainability.
The Committee believes the Department has been unrealistic in its savings expectations, while having little in the way of contingency planning if these savings plans threaten the quality of education and pupil performance.
There is evidence that strains on the Department’s budget are hitting pupils directly. Cash shortages have led to many schools reviewing their options, such as reducing school hours in an attempt to save money. Some schools are offering a reduced curriculum; some are struggling to fund basic materials such as exercise books.
We are deeply concerned about the long-term impacts these ‘make-do’ measures will have on pupils, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
We have heard from headteachers the toll that working long hours has on staff and the potential impact on the quality of teaching. Our report on retaining and developing the teaching workforce found that the Department has failed to get a grip on the issue of teacher retention.
The Committee remains concerned about the management of school buildings, in particular the lack of clarity about the prevalence of asbestos and action to address the risks.
Government also continues with its policy of delivering new free schools, many in inappropriate buildings which are costly to buy and maintain and not suitable for the long-term education of pupils.
The Committee most recently took evidence from the Department in November 2018 for its inquiry examining the accounts and performance of academy schools.
A more detailed overview of its work on education is provided in the Chair’s Third Annual Report here.
Publications and correspondence relating to the Committee's work on Education can be found below and will be updated as relevant publications continue to emerge.