Rural schools could double staffing levels under new funding formula

The Guardian is reporting that school chiefs in rural areas have said they could double their staffing levels if they receive the same amount of money for each pupil as some of the best-resourced city schools.

Peter Woodman, head teacher at the Weald, a large comprehensive on the outskirts of the West Sussex village of Billingshurst, is hoping his school will benefit from long-awaited proposals for a new national funding formula, which were unveiled earlier this month.

He said the “bonkers” thing was that if his school received the same amount of basic funding as schools in his neighbouring town of Brighton he could employ an extra 30 teachers.

“If I was funded at the same levels as the highest-funded London boroughs, I could double my staffing,” he said. “That’s an inequity that needs to be put right…”

“We feel the long-term inequities may at last be put right, which is good news,” he said. “The horrid thing is when no more money is going into the system, you are going to get winners and losers. Where we hope West Sussex will be a winner, the tragedy will be if other areas lose out.”

Peter Haylock is in charge of three “good” and “outstanding” London schools where the intake – and the income – are very different. He is executive principal of the Fulham College academy trust, which includes Fulham College boys’ school, Fulham Cross girls’ school and the Fulham Enterprise Studio.

All have large numbers of pupils from different minority ethnic backgrounds and 66% of students are entitled to free schools meals, more than twice the national average of 28.5%. In common with all Hammersmith and Fulham heads, Haylock gets £6,350 for each pupil – over £2,000 more than schools in West Sussex – which includes extra funding for deprivation, but not additional pupil premium money…

Haylock, like his counterpart in West Sussex, is having to grapple with a frozen budget at a time of rising costs in terms of wages, pensions and national insurance, which will mean an 8% cut in real terms over the next five years. On top of that he is now worried about the impact of a revised funding formula…

“If you are going to bring in a new national funding forumula, it should be brought in at a time when the country has surplus, not deficit. Any changes shouldn’t be to the detriment of one school in favour of another…”

More at: Rural schools could double staffing levels under new funding formula


The perfect solution would be to add extra funds to the system so no one loses and those currently receiving less than they should get more. But that’s clearly not going to happen – so should the formula still be revised, with winners and losers, or just left as it is?

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  1. Julie_Cordiner

    The irony is that the more MATs there are, the less parity there will be, because the money goes to the Trust Board and they can redistribute it in line with their priorities. Schools need to be aware of this but it will frustrate the government’s intentions for the National Funding Formula and move money across areas where the MAT has a wider reach. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Wages need paying and schools need resourcing. West Sussex & London have similar costs of living so no reason for difference

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Ultimately most schools will manage with what they end up with; trouble is they will be blamed if results dip as a result

  4. The proposed formula will only spread an already thin pot around in a different way.  It will not bring poorly-resourced schools up to the level of the best because the best will receive less.

  5. Julie_Cordiner Exactly.  The National Funding Formula consultation says it will bring freedom to schools to decide how they spend their entire budget which will be calculated fairly using the new formula.  But this isn’t true for academies in MATs – their budget will be decided by MAT trustees.  This point needs to be made. The consultation runs until 16 April –  respond here

  6. LindaCBrook

    SchoolsImprove This isn’t how it will work. No school will go up to the current highest funding and there will still be a London weighting.

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