The Guardian is reporting that pupils in London and other inner city areas could lose out under proposals for a new national school funding formula that will replace the patchwork system currently overseen by local authorities.
…The proposal to redistribute funding will be welcomed by Tory MPs in rural shire counties, where schools have long complained that they are underfunded. But the announcement will worry headteachers in London and inner city areas, which have fared well under present arrangements. It will also be bad news for the Conservative Zac Goldsmith, who is campaigning for the London mayoral election in May.
…The proposals, which are now open for consultation, suggest that policymakers will consider four factors when deciding funding: the basic cost per pupil, funding for students who have extra needs (which would include pupils from deprived backgrounds or who speak English as an additional language), school costs (for example, a subsidy given to small schools) and area costs.
Local authorities will still play a role in deciding high needs support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, and will receive funding to do so on what the department describes as a “a fair and formulaic basis”.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the announcement of a new formula was welcome, but that there will be winners and losers.
“We can see however that significantly the bulk of the money will be going directly to schools; this is a big shift which will be welcomed by many heads,” said Hobby.
Jonathan Simons, head of education at the thinktank Policy Exchange, added that the consultation is lacking in detail. “This consultation is relatively straightforward – only asking which factors should be in the core formula, which no one really disagrees on,” he said.
“The crunch will come in the next consultation – date, of course, still unknown – when the government set out how much weighting is applied to each factor. This is where we will see illustrations of how much the better funded areas like London may lose out”…
So this initial consultation will be on the elements that will be included in the funding formula, but not their relative weightings which will obviously be crucial in understanding the ultimate impact.
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