LGA responds to fair funding for schools announcement
Media release 21 July 2016
Responding to the Government's announcement of fair funding for schools, Cllr Richard Watts, Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said:
"Councils have long been calling for a fairer funding system for all schools, and it's positive that this is finally being addressed. It isn't right that pupils can receive thousands of pounds more funding than pupils with similar needs elsewhere, simply because of what budgets looked like in the past.
"Given the delayed response to the second stage consultation on fairer funding, the Government is right to postpone the introduction of the new national funding formula. Providing appropriate and adequate teaching and support for pupils – whether in a primary of 50 pupils or a secondary of 2000 – is a complex process that takes time and careful planning. Leaving schools with only a year to potentially make some major changes would have been a cause for serious concern.
"The funding reforms will see each school's budget set in Whitehall according to a national formula. While it makes absolute sense to have a general formula to ensure fairness between different areas, there needs to be an element of local discretion; each community is unique, with its own very specific needs that can't be accounted for in a ‘one size fits all' approach. Different weightings for issues such as deprivation and location will help to address this, but schools have yet to see how these calculations will be made.
"Councils will still have a major role to play in distributing early years funding and supporting high needs students, so will need to continue conversations with schools to make sure that's done effectively. It therefore makes sense that funding is issued to councils in line with a fair, central formula, with the final decision on each school's allocation made locally, in collaboration with schools themselves to best meet local needs."
21 July 2016
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