COMMONS

Public Accounts Committee - Education

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.

Reports

Inquiry: Academy accounts and performance
Report: Academy accounts and performance - Published 23 January

Reports

Inquiry: Sale of student loans
Report: Sale of student loans - Published 22 November

Inquiry: Ofsted's inspection of schools
Report: Ofsted's inspection of schools - Published 7 September

Inquiry: Converting schools to academies
Report: Converting schools to academies - Published 11 July

Inquiry: Delivering STEM skills for the economy
Report: Delivering STEM skills for the economy - Published 22 June

Inquiry: The Higher Education market
Report: The Higher Education market - Published 15 June

Inquiry: Academy schools' finances
Report: Academy schools' finances - Published 30 March

Inquiry: Alternative Higher Education Providers
Report: Alternative Higher Education Providers - Published 7 March

Inquiry: The monitory, inspecting and funding of Learndirect Ltd.
Report: The monitory, inspection and funding of Learndirect Ltd. - Published 2 March 

Correspondence

Correspondence from Department for Education relating to the Committee's Third Report of session 2016-17- 23 July

Correspondence with the Comptroller and Auditor General concerning T levels - 7 June

Correspondence with Department for Education relating to academy schools' finances - 12 June (PDF PDF 100 KB)

Correspondence with the Department for Education - 27 March (PDF PDF 509 KB)

Reports

Inquiry: Capital funding for schools
Report: Capital funding for schools - Published 26 April

Inquiry: Financial sustainability of schools
Report: Financial sustainability of schools - Published 29 March

Inquiry: Retaining and developing the teaching workforce
Report: Retaining and developing the teaching workforce - Published 31 January

Correspondence

Correspondence with National Union of Students relating to Learndirect -  8 November

Correspondence with TES - 5 December (PDF PDF 407 KB)

Correspondence from the Department for Education relating to the Committee's report on Child Protection - 18 September (PDF PDF 906 KB)

Correspondence from Chair of the Public Accounts Committee to the Department for Education  relating to Learndirect - 31 August (PDF PDF 514 KB)

Correspondence with the Department for Education relating to Learndirect - 28 September (PDF PDF 245 KB)

Correspondence with the Department for Education relating to the Committee's forty-ninth Report of the Session 2016-17 on Financial sustainability of schools - 30 October (PDF PDF 1.98 MB)

Correspondence from the Chair to Department for Education Permanent Secretary relating to the Department Annual Reports and Accounts - 14 November (PDF PDF 2.36 MB)

Correspondence with Ofsted - 18 January (PDF PDF 1.38 MB)

Correspondence with Andy Palmer, Chief Executive, Learndirect - 16 January (PDF PDF 134 KB)

Correspondence with Department for Education - 21 January (PDF PDF 2.31 MB)

Correspondence with Ofsted - 9 February (PDF PDF 182 KB)

Further Correspondence with Ofsted - 9 February (PDF PDF 182 KB)

Reports

Inquiry: The apprenticeships programme
Report: The apprenticeships programme - Published 30 November

Inquiry: Entitlement to free early years education and childcare
Report: Entitlement to free early years education and childcare - Published 15 June

Inquiry: Training new teachers
Report: Training new teachers - Published 10 June

Reports

Inquiry: Overseeing financial sustainability in the further education sector
Report: Overseeing financial sustainability in the further education sector - Published 16 December

Inquiry: Funding for disadvantaged pupils
Report: Funding for disadvantaged pupils - Published 9 October

Correspondence

Correspondence to PAC from Permanent Secretary relating to the Committtee's Report on Excess Votes - 29 June 2015 (PDF PDF 333 KB)

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