Campaign group f40, which represents the local authorities with the poorest funded schools in England, has welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s confirmation that a new and fairer school funding formula is to be introduced.
The promise of a long-awaited national funding formula, to replace the existing discredited arrangements, made by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in his speech launching the Spending Review, has been widely welcomed by f40 members.
Councillor Ivan Ould, the chair of the group and Lead Member for Children and Young People’s Services at poorly funded Leicestershire County Council, said: “The Coalition Government is the first administration in the past 20 years to acknowledge that the existing formula is unfair and inequitable. Last year the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, acknowledged our case and announced that change had to happen…but only after the next election.
“Yesterday’s re-affirmation of the need for change made by the Chancellor is a huge step forward for our campaign for fair funding. With the Chancellor’s backing we stand a much greater chance of seeing a new national formula introduced.
“The fact is that pupils and schools in f40 local authority areas have been dis-advantaged by an archaic system for nearly twenty years: they have been the poor relations in terms of the share of education funding.
“We can now look forward to a time when the injustice will end. Although we would have liked change more quickly – and ideally before the 2015 election – at least we can now work with the government to create a fairer system that supports pupils and schools wherever they are.”
Welcoming the Chancellor’s announcement Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and vice chair of the f40 Group, said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor has now made a firm commitment to fairer funding and a national formula that no longer discriminates against many local authority areas, including my own county of Worcestershire.
“It has taken decades of campaigning by f40 and its supporters to get recognition of the injustice inherent in the existing funding arrangements. The statement as part of yesterday’s Spending Review is a huge relief to those who have been encouraged by winning the argument but frustrated by the progress in actually changing the system.
“This is a big step forward and there is no doubt that we have scored a big success, but this is by no means the end of the story and we must still push for every inch of progress that can be made between now and 2015.
“I would like to thank all the teachers, parents, heads, councillors and governors across f40 areas who have patiently supported f40 and helped us get to the point where at long last total victory is in sight.”