MP welcomes increased funding for Wealden’s Schools


The Secretary of State for Education has told parliament, schools will get an increase of 0.5% per pupil from the next school year, and a 1% increase from 2019-20, confirming the £1.3bn increase in funding she announced back in July.

Although welcoming the new funding formula, the Association of School and College Leader claims the increase in funding is recycled from elsewhere in the education budget, and the additional funding is nowhere near enough to prevent further cuts.

The announced increase comes in the wake of intense lobbying by teachers and parents, over the previous proposals.

Wealden MP Nus Ghani has made numerous representations to her ministerial colleagues in the Department for Education as well as attending a meeting with local headteachers in Crowborough earlier this year.

The f40 Group, which has campaigned for fairer funding of education for over 20 years, has broadly welcomed the latest government announcement on school funding.

Responding to an announcement, the f40 Chairman, Cllr Ivan Ould, said:

There are some positive elements to the national fair funding announcement that we must welcome, including the extra funding over the next two years, the guarantee of minimum funding that each primary and secondary school will attract and the potential for fast gains in per pupil funding for the very lowest funded schools.

On the face of it, the promised protected funding for additional needs is also welcome, though once again we need to see how the funding allocations are applied.

As with previous announcements on this extremely complicated topic, it is important that we look behind the headlines to check what is really on the table.  We will be getting to work on applying the new figures to our spreadsheets straight away and discussing the latest position with our member authorities.

The new formula will replace the current unfair and outdated funding system that sees schools in each area of the country receiving very different amounts of money.  From now on, the resources that the Government is investing in schools will be distributed based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school: directing resources to where they are most needed and delivering greater transparency.

The core funding underpinning the national funding formula is set to rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-8 to £43.5 billion by 2019-20.  This means that some schools in Wealden will receive up to an 8 per cent increase in funding.

The new formula not only increases per pupil funding, but also takes into account the needs of schools catering for special needs children and the alternative provision for those who cannot attend mainstream schools.

Commenting on the announcement, Ms Ghani said:

The new funding formula has come about as part of team effort.  It is a huge achievement that schools across Wealden will all see an increase in both pupil-led funding and total funding, with some receiving an increase of as much as 8 per cent.

And as the lead MP for the f40 group in East Sussex, I am aware of the unique needs of schools in Wealden and I have fully sympathised with many of the concerns expressed by local head teachers over the old funding formula proposals.

It is a testament to the quality and dedication of the teachers in Wealden that local students achieved such impressive GCSE and A-Level results in August.

The big change which I pushed for in the new formula was a higher percentage of funding to go to each child and I am delighted that this is being delivered.

Local school funding is now firmly on the up and I will continue to campaign for schools across Wealden to get the best deal possible.

Cllr Bob Standley, East Sussex Lead Member for Education and ISEND (Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability) said:

The County Council has been very active in lobbying government to get a fairer funding arrangement both directly and through the national f40 group, of which East Sussex County Council is a member.  The funding announcement is welcome although we need to see the detail of the proposals for individual schools.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:

The fundamental problem is there is not enough funding going into education.  The additional £1.3bn announced by Justine Greening in July was a step in the right direction.  But schools have already suffered huge cuts and the additional funding is nowhere near enough to prevent further cuts.

And the £1.3bn comes with the caveat that it is one-off funding split over two years, recycled from elsewhere in the education budget. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that all this additional funding does is to reduce the real terms cut from 6.5% to 4.6% between 2015 and 2019.

By ASCL calculations, a further £2bn a year would be needed by 2020 to address this issue.

Furthermore, the national funding formula does not deal with 16-19 funding which is set at an abysmally low level and is having a major impact on the education of students in sixth forms and colleges.

It is time the Prime Minister and the Chancellor invested more in the future of our young people and recognised the urgency of an issue which nearly lost them the General Election.  Parents will expect the Chancellor to deliver a better deal for schools and colleges in his budget on 22 November.



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