The Guardian reports that the letter from more than 4,000 heads will tell around a million families that the government’s new national funding formula still means their children face an unfair “postcode lottery”, with some schools able to afford class sizes of 20 but similar schools in other regions forced to have classes of 35 pupils.
The heads argue that the proposed national formula – designed to iron out historic disparities in funding – will do little to solve the funding crisis affecting many state.
The letter includes analysis of government statistics that reveal a secondary school in York would get an average of £4,700 per pupil in 2018-19, compared with £6,450 for a pupil in Greenwich, London – nearly £2.5m a year less for a school with 1,400 students. Second worst off among secondary schools were those in Barnsley, where schools get an average of £4,729 per pupil, followed by Leicester, with £4,730.
Local authorities use different formulas to distribute funding in their area. For example, a secondary school pupil with low previous results would attract £2,000 in extra funding in Birmingham, compared with just £36 in Darlington.
“A school in a disadvantaged area of Crawley or a tough part of Barnsley will receive millions of pounds less than schools from similar socioeconomic areas in London or Manchester,” said Jules White, head at Tanbridge House school in West Sussex, who coordinated the letter.
The headteachers are urging parents to lobby their MPs for improved funding, following similar campaigns from heads at the end of the last school year, and from schools and unions during the run up to the election.
The headteachers put the inconsistencies in funding down to the fact that how much a school gains or loses is dependent on caps. “The caps are largely arbitrary and mean that any new per pupil funding is often based on the previously discredited formula,” the letter says.
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