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…”
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?
Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…
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