Department for Education caught adding tuition fees to school funding claims

From BBC News: If you’re a student paying tuition fees, you might be surprised to find that the cost of going to university is being included as “spending” in the government’s defence of its record on school funding.

But when ministers faced accusations of under-funding schools in England, a figure they quoted widely as evidence of high spending has been found to include billions of pounds of university fees being paid by students, rather than only government spending.

School leaders have described this discovery as “shocking and disturbing”.

Last week, more than a thousand head teachers marched on Downing Street, protesting about school funding shortages.

The Department for Education rejected their claims, saying not only were record amounts going into schools but the “OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world”.

The claim for world-beating spending was used repeatedly by the DfE, it was published on the department’s website and the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, used the same argument on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, in a debate over school budgets.

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