Worth Less? Update January 2018
National Funding Formula for schools – update from West Sussex headteachers
Headteachers have campaigned for much improved funding for our schools for a sustained period of time.
In September 2017 the government announced its new National Funding Formula. Consequently, the Department for Education reduced the amount that it had originally planned to take from school budgets by £1.3 billion (2015-2020) and confirmed new formula arrangements for how schools would be funded from April 2018.
Headteachers have looked in detail at the Department for Education’s own funding information and statistics and have concluded that the new arrangements fall well short of what was promised.
Despite promises to the contrary, the new formula still leaves schools in West Sussex funded considerably less than many others. It is acknowledged that factors such as deprivation, higher staffing costs and English as a second language (e.g. in London) mean that schools should be funded differently, but disappointing disparities nevertheless remain – and also with averagely funded authorities.
The following basic headlines – again using the Department for Education’s own statistics – display the funding differences for 2018-19:-
- 100,000 pupils in West Sussex will receive £30 million less than the same number of pupils in the average funded authority, £145 million less than the same number of pupils in Greenwich and £263 million less than those in Hackney.
- Over five years, for example, Years 7-11 – therefore, this equates to differences of £150 million from the average funded authority and a staggering £1.3 billion less than students in Hackney.
- In Crawley, a secondary school of 1189 pupils will have a budget of £5.5 million. This compares to a budget of £9.3 million for the same size school in Hackney. The total funding difference is £3.8 million (69%).
- In Worthing, a secondary school of 1176 students will have a budget of £5.4 million. This compares to a budget of £9.2 million for the same size school in Hackney. The total funding difference is £3.8 million (70%).
- In Bognor, a secondary school of 1177 students will have a budget of £5.5 million. This compares to a budget of £9.2 million for the same size school in Hackney. The total funding difference is £3.7 million (68%).
- In Upper Beeding, a primary school of 340 pupils will have a budget of £1.2 million. This compares to a budget of £2 million for the same size school in Hackney. The total funding difference is £800,000 (67%).
- In Shoreham-by-Sea, a primary school of 432 pupils will have a budget of £1.5million. This compares to a budget of £2.5 million for the same size school in Hackney. The total funding difference is £1 million (71%)
An additional £1 million of funding for a school can purchase the following:-
- 34 teachers at an average salary (including on costs) of £30,000
- 63 teaching assistants at an average salary (including on costs) of £16,000
- 2000 computers at an average cost of £500
- 40,000 text books at an average cost of £25
Additional funding could also be spent on a range of other crucial resources and support staff in areas such as Special Educational Needs and Disability, counselling services and intervention work for students across the ability range.
For over two years, Headteachers have run a relentlessly reasonable campaign requesting a fair deal for the children in our schools. We have absolutely no desire to see schools in other parts of the country have a reduction in their funding, but we cannot accept that the children that we educate are treated so unfairly.
Headteachers in thousands of other low funded areas of England, are all stating the same facts. We are delighted that a cross party group of councillors from West Sussex are also continuing to support our campaign so clearly. On 4 January 2018, councillors of all political affiliations used the West Sussex County Times to state publically that the proposed new formula is “not fit for purpose”
We are asking our local MPs to raise their voices once again to confirm that the new funding formula proposed by the government is simply not fit for purpose. We have already received an initial statement from them (excluding Nick Gibb MP as he is the school’s minister) and have attached it for your information. The fact that we have a new Secretary of State merely adds to the sense of urgency.
Our collective work – and in particular, the sustained intervention of local MPs – was important in ensuring that some improvements were made to the original proposals for the new formula. We now need to have this work finished fairly and adequately. Maintaining the status quo is clearly not acceptable.
Every student sits the same examinations and all students have the right to adequate levels of funding and support so that their dreams and aspirations can be fulfilled. It is also vital to our country’s future wellbeing and prosperity that every child is given a proper opportunity to succeed.
With thanks for your ongoing support.