School funding will remain at the top of Lucy Frazer’s agenda, the MP promises Spotted in Ely, announcing “an additional £3.1 million” for South East Cambridgeshire’s schools.
This week Ms Frazer said that once the government’s new National Funding Formula was fully implemented, primary and secondary schools across her constituency would get a funding boost of “up to 8.8 per cent”.
Under the new formula secondary schools will attract a minimum of £4800 per pupil and primary schools will attract a minimum of £3,500 per pupil by 2019-2020, she added.
“I am pleased that our efforts to fight for fairer funding are beginning to pay off and the new National Funding Formula is a welcome step in the right direction.
“I will continue to lobby national government to make sure that the additional funding is delivered and will continue to make the case for our schools.”
Between now and when the new funding kicks in, Local Authorities will “receive an increase over the amount they plan to spend” in 2017-2018.
Although Local Authorities would take the final decision on distributing this funding to schools locally, the formula will provide for “all schools to see an increase in funding compared with their current baseline,” Ms Frazer said.
According to government figures, based on current pupil numbers, if the new formula was introduced this financial year, Bottisham Village College would receive the equivalent of £285,000 (5.7%) more, Ely College would gain £249,000 (5.3%), and Witchford Rackham Church of England School £42,000 (4%).
Robert Akenstall Primary School in Haddenham would get an additional £51,000 (5.2%), Soham Village College £374,000 (6.1%), St Andrew’s Church of England School in Soham £103,000 (7.3%), The Weatheralls Primary School £156,000 (8.8%), Witchford Village College £164,000 (4.3%), Burwell Village College £117,000 (7.7%), Ely St John’s £118,000 (7.5%), Ely St. Mary’s £101,000 (7.2%), Linton Village College £205,000 (5.4%), The Lantern Community Primary School £119,000 (8.1%), and The Shade Primary School £79,000 (5.9%).
Headteachers warn of “post code funding lottery”
However, thousands of headteachers across the country are dissatisfied with the government’s new National Funding Formula, saying it would perpetuate inequalities.
In an unusual move, a letter from schools across 17 counties, including Cambridgeshire, was sent out to parents this week, saying they had a “right to know the facts that will affect your child’s education for years to come”.
The letter starts off by congratulating the government for trying to address the issue and says that some of the country’s poorest schools would benefit from additional funding.
However, it states that the £1.3 billion of additional funding announced by the government in July would “not make up for the £3 billion overall reduction that was already announced and planned for 2015-20. Over a five year period there is a shortfall of approximately £1.7 billion.”
The letter, yesterday sent to parents and carers at Witchford Village College, points to research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, which “states during 2015-20 school budgets will have been cut in real terms by 4.6 per cent”.
It continues: “Far from being resolved, your child’s education will be at the behest of a post code funding lottery.
“Some classes with the same socio-economic characteristics will be able to afford teacher/pupil classes of 20, whilst others will have to make do with 35. Some children will have three Teacher Assistants in their class, whilst others from similar backgrounds in a different part of the country will have none.
“At the end of the day though, all pupils will take exactly the same Key Stage 2 tests and go on to take the same maths and English GCSEs.
“Their futures are simply not being fairly catered for.”
The letter urges parents and carers to keep putting pressure on MPs and local representatives to lobby for more educational funding.
Meanwhile a spat has developed between the government and the School Cuts pressure group, with each accusing the other of misleading the public.
School Cuts, which represents a number of teachers’ unions as well as other trade unions, insists that “88 per cent of schools still face real term budget cuts”, while a Department of Education spokesperson accuses the website of basing its research on outdated data.
“Under the formula, no school loses money, with historic changes to the system that will mean all areas are funded fairly and according to their needs,” the Department says.
Government funding data for each school can be found here.