David Cameron says spending per pupil in England will rise in cash terms if the Conservatives win the next election, but will not keep up with inflation.
The prime minister said the decision would be “difficult” for some schools, but as rhe number of pupils was rising, more money would go to schools overall.
Mr Cameron also vowed he would wage “all-out war” on mediocre schools. Headteachers face being sacked under proposed new powers in which the government will be able to convert more struggling schools to academy status.
Under the current system, schools rated by Ofsted as “inadequate” can be converted into academies. Mr Cameron’s proposal will be to extend this, meaning schools rated as “requiring improvement” will also be included.
No more sink schools – and no more ‘bog-standard’ schools either. David Cameron
Mr Cameron said: “As parents we’re hardwired to want the best for our kids. No one wants their child to go to a failing school – and no one wants to them to go to a coasting school either.
“So this party is clear. Just enough is not good enough. That means no more sink schools – and no more ‘bog-standard’ schools either.”
Eton-educated Mr Cameron has previously said he wants to end the education “lottery” and close the gap between the performance of private and state schools.
However, the Labour party has accused the government “damaging our education system” and “failing to close the learning gap between disadvantaged children and the rest”.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, also privately educated, said: “Many parents will be shocked to learn that David Cameron’s government has changed the rules to allow unqualified teachers into the classroom on a permanent basis, leading to a 16 per cent rise in the last year alone.
“The surest way to raise standards in every lesson, in every school, is to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.
“That begins with an end to Cameron’s unqualified teachers policy. Labour will ensure that all teachers are qualified and continue to train to improve their teaching as a condition to remaining in the classroom.”
Thousands of schools have already been converted to academy status. Academies do not have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. In some cases academies are sponsored by organisation such as businesses, universities and faith groups.