Debate on school places and fair funding, House of Lords, Thursday 16 November 2017

In announcing an additional £1.3 billion for schools funding during 2018/19 and 2019/20, the Government recognised concerns raised by the LGA and other stakeholders that no school should be left worse off under the proposed national funding formula.


Key messages

  • In announcing an additional £1.3 billion for schools funding during 2018/19 and 2019/20, the Government recognised concerns raised by the LGA and other stakeholders that no school should be left worse off under the proposed national funding formula.
     
  • While introduction of the national funding formula will see the budgets of 22,000 schools set in Whitehall, we are pleased that until 2020 at least, councils and schools will retain a degree of flexibility over allocations to reflect local needs and circumstances.
     
  • Councils work closely with their local schools and their local knowledge means they are uniquely placed to ensure funding is distributed fairly. They must retain some flexibility to agree with schools a slightly different allocation of funding if that produces better outcomes for schools and pupils.
     
  • We remain concerned that the introduction of the national funding formula, combined with changes to High Needs funding, will exacerbate existing shortfalls in funding to support children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND). This is why we are calling for councils to retain the flexibility to move money between the schools and high needs blocks funding blocks
     
  • Research undertaken on behalf of the LGA by education consultants Angel Solutions highlights the strong council role in providing good school places, with 91 percent of maintained schools rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 85 per cent of academies and 84 per cent of Free Schools. Councils should be seen by the Department for Education (DfE) as improvement partners in ensuring every child has access to a place at a good local school

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