Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

07 MAR 2016

Progress on fairer funding for local schools

Steve Brine has welcomed news that historic reforms that will bring an end to the unfairness in the school funding system have been outlined by the Secretary of State.

Mr Brine, a key member of f40, a group of MPs in Parliament campaigning to redress the unbalanced funding for schoolchildren across the country, has backed the government as they confirmed that providing educational excellence everywhere is a key part of the government's mission to extend opportunity to every child.

Steve Brine said: "Our manifesto commitment to protect the core schools budget was very important to me, and this will be over £40billion next year, including the pupil premium - funding worth £2.5 billion a year targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils. This is the highest ever level of funding for schools of any government."

The current system for distributing that funding is outdated, inefficient and unfair. Under the current system, a school in one part of the country could receive over 50% more than an identical school with exactly the same children, simply because of an accident of history.

Under proposals published for consultation launched on Tuesday 7th March, the government has started the process of introducing a national funding formula from 2017-18. This represents an important move towards a system where school funding is allocated on a consistent national formula.

As part of this, local authorities will receive funding to help with their responsibilities towards young people with high-level special educational needs on a fair and formulaic basis, so that no pupil is disadvantaged simply by where they live.

The plans outlined will ensure that every school and local area, no matter where they are in the country, is funded fairly - according to need rather than the oddities of history. It will also mean that areas with the highest need will attract the most funding and ensure that all children get access to the education they deserve.

In addition, the funding will get straight to the frontline. The current school funding system relies on local authorities determining how much funding schools are allocated. A single national funding formula for schools will remove the role of the local authority, ensuring pupils with similar needs attract the same level of funding to their school, and will also give headteachers far more certainty over future budgets.

The Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan, said: "We want every school in England to get the funding it deserves, so that all children – whatever their background and wherever they live in the country – get a great education.

"The introduction of a national funding formula from 2017-18 will see the biggest step towards fairer funding in over a decade – ensuring that pupils get funding that genuinely matches their need. It will also ensure that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to receive significant additional funding to overcome entrenched barriers to their success.

"This is a key part of our core mission to extend opportunity to all children and provide educational excellence in all parts of the country: rural and urban, shire and metropolitan, north and south."

Local authorities will continue to play a vital role in the distribution of high needs funding as they are best placed to make important local decisions about children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The announcement marks the first stage of the government's education funding reform consultation process. The consultation proposes that the following factors are considered as part of allocating core schools funding:

1) basic per pupil funding – ensuring a core allocation for the costs of teaching all pupils

2) funding for additional needs – including deprivation, low prior attainment and English as an additional language

3) school costs – including fixed costs and those related to schools serving rural communities

4) area costs – ensuring more funding goes to areas that face the highest costs

Once these key principles have been agreed, a further consultation seeking views on the weighting of these factors will follow. This second stage consultation will set out full illustrations of the impacts of the funding formulae across schools and local authorities.

There will also be a parallel consultation on a national funding formula for early years funding later this year.

Pictured; Steve joins Nicky Morgan at The Westgate School earlier this year, and chatting to pupils at Oliver's Battery Primary School

 

More information ...

The consultation can be accessed here

See more from Steve on this here

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