Fresh hope for under-funded schools
STATEMENT from Zahir Mohammed Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Buckinghamshire County Council
We have worked hard at Buckinghamshire County Council to improve the funding of our schools, and I have said publicly many times that seven out of the ten lowest funded schools in the country are here in Buckinghamshire.
In fact, Buckinghamshire is host to the lowest funded school in the country.
Yet Buckinghamshire education standards, measured particularly at Key Stage 4, continue to outperform national by some margin.
But there is potentially good news in the offing!
Along with four other members of the f40 group of lowest-funded education authorities in England, I recently met the Secretary of State and separately the Minister for School Standards to raise these concerns for and on behalf of Buckinghamshire.
I am pleased to say that the Government has taken a bold step in starting the second stage of the National Funding Formula consultation, on 14 December 2016, to deliver fairer funding for our schools.
This is not an increase in funding, but a redistribution of the existing pot of money, which means therefore that the higher-funded schools in the country will lose at the expense of the lower funded. I am pleased that, subject to any changes arising from the consultation, Buckinghamshire schools overall will gain.
The headlines figures are that:
- Buckinghamshire schools will receive approximately an additional £10 million annually.
- About 80% of Buckinghamshire primary schools and 90% of secondaries will gain from the changes in funding. Nationally about 54% of schools will gain and 46% lose. Overall about 85% of Buckinghamshire schools will gain funding.
- Buckinghamshire's 180 primary schools will gain, on average, about £25,000 per year and our 35 secondary schools will gain about £155,000 per year.
Of course, I would like to see all Buckinghamshire schools gain, and for per-pupil funding to be in line with the national average for there to be genuine fairness and equality of per pupil funding in the country, but this is excellent news for Buckinghamshire schools overall.
The County Council and the Government are committed to improving the life chances of children and young people, and this will go some way to achieving that across most schools.