Education funding is still not fair to all our schools

Gloria De Piero MP.
Gloria De Piero MP.

The effects that deep cuts to school funding imposed by the Government are having on Nottinghamshire’s schools is an issue I have touched on many times before, writes Gloria De Piero MP.

Just a few months ago, I wrote in this column that school funding has been cut by eight per cent per pupil in real terms since 2010.

Nottinghamshire is one of the 42 lowest funded local authorities for education in England, so its local schools are more cash-strapped than most.

I have recently co-signed a letter to the Chancellor calling for fairer funding for our schools, which was organised by the f40 campaign group.

The letter raises concerns that the new national funding formula for schools does not correct the historical unfair funding of the system that it replaced.

The new funding formula does not deliver the fundamental changes that were expected and still means that big differences in the funding given to schools exist.

The f40 letter calls for the Chancellor, in this year’s spending review, to:

• Remove the historic inequalities and funding protections in the system.

• Raise the basic entitlement to ensure the core cost of running a school are met.

• Inject at least £1.4 billion of additional funding for high needs provision across the country.

• Significantly increase funding for all schools to ensure there is enough to meet the cost pressures facing all schools and to allow them to operate successfully and provide quality education for all children, regardless of where they live.

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The funding pressures on schools are real and are hitting home in this area.

I recently received a letter from one local school, saying it would be £250,000 out of pocket due to the way funding is worked out.

It is essentially being penalised for having more pupils than expected, which is grossly unfair, and I have raised this with the Department for Education.

The ball is now in the government’s court and we will soon see where its priorities lie.