Prime Minister urged to intervene as Devon schools lose funding

Posted on: 13 March 2017

Devon’s education chief has written to the Prime Minister urging her to take action over the proposed new national funding system that could see scores of Devon schools lose out.

James McInnes has signed a joint letter to Theresa May with colleagues from around the country who represent the lowest-funded education authorities in the campaign group f40.

Devon has been campaigning with its schools, headteachers and governors for a Fair Funding system for years.

Two years ago it won an extra £16 million a year for schools but every child in Devon is still funded at £290 less than the national average.

And the new national funding system currently being consulted on by the Government would see nearly two thirds of Devon children in schools that would lose out even more.

In the letter Mr McInnes says:

“We believe it is absolutely right that the government has brought forward proposals for a national funding formula but the formula being proposed seems to be weighted more towards maintaining stability than achieving fairness.

“We firmly believe that the formula proposals that have been presented fall short of what was expected, will not deliver fairness and that they need further work. f40 and its local authority membership never expected that a new ‘fair funding’ formula could end up being so unfair to so many authorities and schools. We are alarmed that so many schools are losers and we fail to understand why this should be the case when those schools were already poorly funded and well below the national average.

“It is vital that the basic level of funding allocated to all schools is adequate for the school to staff and operate sufficiently. But that will not happen with the proposed 3% funding floor as it ‘locks in’ some of the historical differences for those schools which have been overfunded for several decades. In practice, schools in lower funded areas will be subsidising those in better funded areas who will not lose more than 3%.

“It is disappointing to see the continued use of averages, which reflect what local authorities can currently afford to do, rather than a needs-based model which can evidence that the proposed funding levels are sufficient to cover the required costs of operating schools of different sizes and levels of needs wherever they are in the country.

f40 members understand that the Stage 2 consultation is about finding a fair funding methodology and not about the quantum of funding available. But, schools in lower funded areas have been making cuts for many years now and have reached the limit of where cuts can be made. We are struggling to understand where more cuts can be made in the lowest funded authorities. On top of this, all schools are facing significant additional costs which the government does not intend to pay for.

“This review of the school funding formula is a once in a generation opportunity to get things right. It is vitally important that one injustice isn’t replaced with another and we hope that you will do everything in your power to ensure that the outcome of the fair funding for schools consultation is exactly that – fair.”

2 comments on “Prime Minister urged to intervene as Devon schools lose funding

  1. Kathleen Pillman says:

    Why should Devon children suffer – they are as important as those living anywhere else in the United Kingdom. The Government should think again before ploughing more money into Free Schools. The Route 39 Academy already owes the Government over £250.000.00 because they over estimated the numbers, and with the millions being spent on the new school and site it just doesn’t make sense.

  2. Peter Vickery says:

    As Chair of the Exeter Children’s Federation, comprising Montgomery Primary School, Wynstream Primary School and the Chestnut Nursery, all of which have significant challenges, particularly in areas such as Pupil Premium, Send and EAL, I welcome Mr McInnes’ initiative,
    The schools in the ECF will lose out under the new School Funding Formula, at a time when we want to be pushing for greater progress for our pupils and good terms and working conditions for our staff.
    This situation goes beyond unfair and, to my mind, is immoral.

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