Ministers 'falling short' on school funding

The government has fallen short on a promise to deliver fairer funding for schools, say education campaigners.

Proposals for delivering fair funding for schools need substantial revision, says the f40 Group, which has the support of the Rural Services Network.

The group that has campaigned for more than 20 years to see changes in the way funds are allocated to schools across the country.

The f40 group says the government should reconsider four proposals.

    See also: Cuts threaten to close rural schools

These are:

* The proportion of weighting given to additional needs rather than basic entitlement
* The 3% funding floor, which 'locks in' historical differences
* The weakness of evidence used to support the proposals
* The amount invested in education funding and the cost pressures facing all schools.

F40 Chairman Ivan Ould, a Leicestershire County Council member, said the group welcomed the opportunity to respoind to the government consultation.

Councillor Ould also commended the government for honouring its manifesto commitment to introduce fairer funding for all children in state funded schools in England.

But he warned: "Some poorly funded authorities will not gain and that many schools – both primary and secondary – within poorly funded authorities will lose out.

"We will highlight the main elements on which f40 would like to see further evidence or discussion prior to the implementation of a new formula and before it can be considered fair.

"However, we do not wish to see further delays in the implementation of a new formula."

The f40 group says the government's proposals fall short of delivering true fairness, arguing that one injustice must not be replaced with another.

It says schools in lower funded areas have already been making cuts for well over many years now and have reached the limit of where cuts can be made.

On top of this, all schools are facing significant additional costs which the government does not intend to pay for, says the group.

In consultation with its member authorities, f40 is continuing to develop its detailed response to the government's consultation.

It comes as research shows that poor pupils located in cities make more progress relative to their more affluent peers than those in rural areas.

The gap greatest in large schools with average levels of pupil disadvantage, says the Social Mobility Commission.

It also finds that ethnic minority pupils make better progress at secondary schools than poor white children.

The largest gaps in progress are between poor white children and their more affluent peers.

Most low-income ethnic minority groups make progress that is in line with the national average for all pupils.


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