How the new funding propopals will impact on our schools

The Government has announced a new national funding formula for schools from 2018-19, saying it would resolve “unfair” and “inconsistent” funding.

Under the new funding formula, most of the schools in the Crowborough area would lose out, the two exceptions would be Ashdown and Fermor.  St John’s would see their budget cut by £16,000.    Under the new formula any large changes in a school’s budget would be phased in during a transitional period.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

Our proposed reforms will mean an end to historical unfairness and underfunding for certain schools.

We need a system that funds schools according to the needs of their pupils rather than their postcode, levelling the playing field and giving parents the confidence that every child will have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

Table showing schools within 5 miles of Crowborough.  Illustrative funding if NFF formula implemented in full in 2016-17 without transitional protections.

School Name Funding in 2016-17 Under new funding formula* Difference %
Ashdown Primary School £1,595,000 £1,626,000 £31,000 1.9%
Five Ashes CofE Primary School £375,000 £367,000 -£8,000 -2.1%
Groombridge St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School £728,000 £716,000 -£12,000 -1.6%
High Hurstwood Church of England Primary School £472,000 £461,000 -£11,000 -2.3%
Jarvis Brook Primary School £700,000 £691,000 -£9,000 -1.3%
Mark Cross Church of England Aided Primary School £434,000 £424,000 -£10,000 -2.3%
Nutley Church of England Primary School £417,000 £409,000 -£8,000 -1.9%
Rotherfield Primary School £649,000 £641,000 -£8,000 -1.2%
Sir Henry Fermor Church of England Primary School, Crowborough £1,306,000 £1,325,000 £19,000 1.4%
St John’s Church of England Primary School, Crowborough £731,000 £715,000 -£16,000 -2.2%
St Mark’s Church of England Primary School, Hadlow Down £393,000 £384,000 -£9,000 -2.3%
St Mary the Virgin Church of England Primary School, Hartfield £390,000 £382,000 -£8,000 -2.1%
St Marys Catholic Primary School, Crowborough £735,000 £733,000 -£2,000 -0.3%
St Michael’s Primary School, Withyham £439,000 £430,000 -£9,000 -2.1%
* Illustrations based on 2016-17 data.  Actual allocations will reflect the final formula (following the consultation) and will be updated for the latest pupil numbers and characteristics.

Under the new funding formula Beacon Academy’s budget would be reduced by £10,000 to £4.8 million.

Overall the budgets for all primary schools in East Sussex would go up by over £4.3 million (or on average 3.1%), and secondary schools by £2.3 million (or 2.0%).  Schools in the relatively more deprived areas of the county benefiting most.

The illustrative figures in the proposals no not take into account the total funding which might available after 2019-20, which will be determined through future spending reviews.  A report by the National Audit Office has said mainstream schools might be expected to find £3 billion in savings.

Commenting on the announcement, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

NAHT have long campaigned for a fairer national distribution of school funding, and the new formula is a step in the right direction towards this. But it will only work for pupils if there are sufficient funds in the first place.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that school spending per pupil is likely to fall by around 8% in real terms by 2019-20, the first drop since the mid-1990s.

School funding is not sufficient.  A change in how funding is distributed is important but it will not solve this fundamental lack of investment.  We look forward to engaging with the detail of the formula, and we certainly welcome some aspects of the new design, but we also need to see greater money coming in to education in the first place.

The new funding formula aims to be more transparent.  The majority of funding is calculated based on the number of pupils in the school (KS1 & 2: £2,712, KS3: £3,797 and KS4: £4,312).  In addition there are weighting for children who need extra support and resources – factors including socio-economic deprivation, low prior attainment, English as an additional language and mobility (pupils joining the school partway through the academic year).  As well as additional amounts for small and remote schools, those operating across split sites, those affected by private finance initiative (PFI) costs and other ‘exceptional circumstances’.

The Department for Education’s second-round of consultation on the new national funding formula runs until 22nd March 2017.  Grove Park School, and other schools for children with learning difficulties, are not-included in this exercise.  There was a separate ‘high needs’ funding consultation earlier in the year.

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