Education secretary Michael Gove has admitted the government’s “pupil premium” would lead to funding cuts for some schools.
The £2.5bn pupil premium - a key pledge of the Liberal Democrats’ election manifesto - will increase the budgets of schools with a higher proportion of poorer children.
But Mr Gove told BBC1’s Politics Show this would mean some schools “will have less”, as funding for the premium will be taken from within the education budget.
David Cameron pledged in June that the pupil premium would be funded from other areas of Whitehall.
He told the Commons: “We will take money from outside the education budget to ensure that the pupil premium is well funded.”
But Mr Gove admitted: “Some of it comes from within the education budget.”
He said “quite a bit of it comes from welfare spending”, adding: “We’ve ensured that there is money that comes from welfare which is being spent on pupil premium and without the welfare cuts, we wouldn’t be in the position to have a real terms increase in school spending.”
Chancellor George Osborne announced on Wednesday that the schools budget will increase from £35bn to £39bn over the next four years - a 0.1% increase in real terms.
But he confirmed that the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) - handed to disadvantaged 16 to 19-year-olds to encourage them to continue their schooling - has been scrapped, while capital spending has been slashed by 60% in real terms.
The Department for Education (DfE) must also make a 3% reduction in its “resource spending” by 2014-15.
Mr Gove was also asked about his plans for Building Schools for the Future (BSF) and whether school building schemes that had been given the green light now faced funding cuts of up to 40%.
He said the government was currently negotiating with building companies and wanted to “bring costs down”. Schools were informed about potential funding cuts in July, he added.
“Right at the beginning we made it clear that we wanted to negotiate with the builders in order to make sure that we could make every building as efficient as possible,” he said.