The Tes reports that each primary pupil will “attract” funding of £3,500 per pupil, education secretary Justine Greening revealed today as she confirmed details of the National Funding Formula for schools.
However, as Tes revealed yesterday, these amounts are only “optional”, and local authorities will have the final say on how much money is allocated to each school in their patch. Ms Greening clarified this in her statement today, reminding MPs that the formula was only “notional” and that the actual levels of funding for each school would be decided by local authorities.
But the National Education Union (NEU) for teachers said Ms Greening had “failed schools, pupils and parents in her announcement today”.
Joint NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The government has been promising ‘fairer funding’ for years but has instead been cutting schools’ funding per pupil in real terms. This has resulted in larger class sizes, a reduced curriculum, fewer teachers, resources and materials. This clearly is detrimental to children and young people’s education.”
“Schools in historically underfunded areas may receive some extra money, but it will not be enough to protect them against inflation and other cost increases – and it is being taken away from other schools which will now lose even more,” he said. In addition, high needs, early years and post-16 education are not being fairly funded, he added.
Headteacher unions welcomed the formula as a way of reducing funding inconsistencies. But they warned that schools are still facing severe funding pressures and that local authorities may decide not to implement the formula.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT union said: “This new formula will ensure a consistent approach to funding schools based on the needs of their pupils and we support the range of factors being used to determine each school’s allocation.
Mr Whiteman highlighted that, for the first two years, the funding will go to local authorities to allocate according to their own local formulas, adding “there is a real risk that this could perpetuate some of the inconsistencies this [formula] was intended to address”.
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