Michael Gove has just been explaining in the Commons where the £7 billion for the
fairness premium that Nick Clegg announced on Friday will come from. Revealingly, David Laws was present as Gove answered this urgent question. I understand that Laws was crucial to both the pupil
premium being implemented at a decent level and the real-terms increase in the schools Budget.
Laws himself told John Pienaar’s show last night that “obviously I’ve talked to him [Nick Clegg] about some of the things
that I’ve been associated with in the past, like the schools funding issue… because I was the schools spokesman in the last parliament”. I hear that Laws’ interventions were
particularly important as Danny Alexander was surprisingly unsympathetic to education’s case.
Watching Gove – who turned in a performance that radiated confidence – I was left wondering how big the cuts in some of the other departmental budgets must be. Gove confirmed that there
would be a real increase in schools spending, that SureStart would remain a universal service and that there would be some kind of financial support for pupils from poor households staying in
education post-16 would continue.