Budget plans set by authorities at the beginning of this financial year represented a 3.6% increase over the previous year's budget plans. However, when compared to what authorities are thought to have actually spent during the last financial year (as opposed to what they planned to spend) the figures show a negligible increase of 0.03% excluding mandatory student awards. After pay and price increases are taken into account, this adds up to a real terms cut in spending.
The report, which is produced annually, is based on responses received from 103 of the 117 education authorities in England and Wales.
The findings confirm a deterioration in the pupil teacher ratio for primary and secondary schools. Estimated figures for 1995/96 show that there are 16.4 secondary pupils for every qualified teacher, compared to 16.2 in 1994/95; and 23 primary school pupils for every qualified teacher compared to 22.7 in the previous year.
'This latest survey provided us with a more comprehensive picture of the extent of the economies which individual schools reported to us last year. The simple fact is that pupil numbers are increasing more rapidly than the availability of resources.
'Local education authorities and individual schools have reported the need to draw on their reserves this year. Clearly some very difficult spending decisions have been made by education authorities and individual school managers.'