Multi-million pound boost for schools

By Michael Broomhead

By Michael Broomhead
Tuesday, 18th March 2014, 2:28 pm
Michael Gove visited Derbyshire last week.
Michael Gove visited Derbyshire last week.

From next year, education bosses will receive an extra £14million to inject into the county’s schools in a move which promises to improve learning for thousands of youngsters.

The county is traditionally one of the lowest funded in the country – but years of campaigning have prompted the Government to tackle this inequality.

Councillor Kevin Gillott, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This money will represent an extra 3.4 per cent funding for our schools, which should mean approximately £147 per pupil.

“Historically our schools have been underfunded in terms of the actual money we get – we’re ranked 119 out of 151 authorities and we get £300 per pupil less than the average.

“We welcome any money that will help us address this underfunding and we’ll be talking to our schools over the next year to see how best to use the cash when we get it.

“We’d obviously welcome even more funding to help us have the same opportunities as other areas to give our youngsters the best education.

“We’re looking forward to finding out if this is one-off funding or hopefully the beginning of continuing investment.”

The news – which was revealed by Schools Minister David Laws last Thursday – will see the county’s schools share a pot of £419m in 2015-16, up from £405m in 2014-15.

The announcement came as Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills welcomed education secretary Michael Gove to Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School in Alfreton.

Mr Mills said he “welcomed” the additional funding and added: “I’m confident it will help to ensure that children are prepared for their future so that they can get on and do well in life.”

The county council was one of the f40 group campaigning aginst the funding inequality.

In total, schools in about 60 local authorities will receive more cash from the Government’s £350m fund.

Ivan Ould, leader of the group, said: “This is excellent news for schools and pupils in f40 areas across England who have been under-funded for so many years.

“The Coalition Government is the first administration in the past 20 years to even acknowledge that the existing formula is unfair and inequitable, so we are pleased that it has now acted to start to rectify the situation.

“The additional funding is seen as a first step towards a new and fairer allocation system.

“This marks a huge step forward for our campaign for fair funding.

“The fact is that pupils and schools in f40 local authority areas have been disadvantaged by an archaic system for nearly 20 years – they have been the poor relations.

“This is a red letter day for members of f40 who can now look forward to a time when the injustice will end.”