Responding to today’s Budget announcement, Carole Willis, chief executive of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), said:
“We welcome the further support announced today for employers hiring new apprentices. However, in these uncertain times, we know existing incentives in this area have generated limited take-up. It is therefore likely employers, particularly small and medium-sized organisations, will require more support.
“We also welcome the recently announced school recovery funding package during a hugely challenging time for teachers, parents and pupils. This is a good start, but we believe more support will be needed to help all pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to recover.
“The government’s priority to level up school funding has meant the most disadvantaged schools are receiving the smallest increases in their budgets at a time when they face a disproportionate challenge in supporting pupils with their learning. We believe this policy should be re-evaluated in light of the pandemic’s impact.
“Covid-19 has placed significant financial pressures on schools, and led to substantial losses in income. Not all schools will be able to meet these pressures through existing reserves or recent funding increases. There is a risk some schools will need to divert resources, which could be used for teaching and recovery, or place additional pressures on their workforces to meet these needs.”