Local government leaders support the national funding formula but are clear that setting 22,000 school budgets on a ‘one size fits all’ national formula decided remotely in Whitehall will not work.
- All children deserve access to the best possible education. Data shows that councils play a vital role in improving schools. Eighty nine per cent of maintained schools are now rated as either good or outstanding.[i] Council-maintained schools receive better Ofsted ratings, and improve more quickly, than academy schools.
- Councils have created an extra 800,000 new school places since 2010.[ii] This is a demonstrable record that shows they are doing everything they can to rise to the challenge within the current financial constraints, and ensuring no child goes without a place. Councils and schools work extremely hard to ensure that as many pupils as possible are allocated their first preference.
- We were pleased the Government recognised LGA concerns and allocated £1.3 billion to schools during 2018-19 and 2019-20. The Chancellor’s commitment of £400 million capital funding for schools in England last year and the additional investment of £350 million across 2018/21 on high needs provision were welcome. Piecemeal amounts of additional school funding are welcome, however the Government needs to replace the existing highly fragmented school capital funding system with a single local funding pot.
- Without further Government investment, local authority services are facing a funding gap of £8 billion by 2025 if Government takes no action at the Spending Review. This is the bare minimum required to ‘stand still’ and does not address unmet need, reinstate services lost between 2010 and 2017 or deal with the low pay of staff providing some local services.
- We remain concerned, that the introduction of the National Funding Formula (NFF) which will see the budgets of 22,000 schools set in Whitehall, combined with changes to High Needs Funding, will exacerbate existing shortfalls in funding to support children and young people with SEND.
- Councils continue to highlight pressures on the High Needs funding block as one of the most serious financial challenges they are facing. LGA commissioned research[iii] found that councils are facing a high needs funding shortfall of £667 million in the 2019-20 financial year and this funding gap could rise to £1.6 billion by 2021.
Education Funding House of Commons 4 June 2019
[i] Angel Solutions on behalf of LGA, https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Academies%20and%20LA%20maintained%20schools%20-%202019%20WEB.pdf
[ii] School Capacity 2017: academic year 2016/17, Education and Skills Funding Agency, SFR 07/2018 15 March 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-capacity-academic-year-2016-to-2017
[iii] Isos Partnership, Have we reached a ‘tipping point’? Trends in spending for children and young people with SEND in England, http://www.isospartnership.com/uploads/files/LGA%20HN%20report%20corrected%2020.12.18.pdf