F40, the group that campaigns for fairer funding for education, today met Education & Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah to discuss how the government’s manifesto promises to deliver fairer funding for England’s schools will be delivered.
F40 represents a group of the lowest funded education authorities in England. The existing school funding model has no rationale and is unfair to pupils in a range of authorities, both urban and rural. School funding has become more and more unfair over time, and the inconsistencies in funding for individual schools with similar characteristics across the country are too great.
The Conservative Party manifesto committed to the introduction of fairer funding and also the base-lining of an extra £390 million announced by the Coalition Government as a down-payment for 2015-16 to help narrow the funding gap.
The f40 delegation was led by Cllr Ivan Ould, the group’s chairman and Graham Stuart MP, who earlier this month was elected as the group’s Conservative Vice Chairman.
Ivan Ould said: “We had a very constructive discussion and it appeared that the Minister was very sympathetic to our arguments. Sam Gyimah is new to the problem of unfair funding for education, but it was obvious that he had done his homework as he was totally up to speed on the issues and need for change.
“We presented our case and expressed the hope that two key manifesto commitments – the base-lining of the £390m of extra funding given to the poorest local authorities for 2015-16 into future budgets and the introduction of a new national funding system as soon as possible. Although we received no specific commitment, I am confident that we will see some significant announcements in the near future.”
Graham Stuart added: “School funding reform is crucial to deliver fairness for our children, which is why the commitments in our manifesto at the General Election were so important. It is morally indefensible that children in places like East Yorkshire continue to receive over £400 less for their education each year than children on the other side of the authority boundary in Hull. Enormous variations like these, which are replicated across the country, are not based on need, but are the result of an unfair funding system. This translates into real challenges for local schools, particularly when it comes to securing high quality teachers, who are the key to educational success.
“Last year Ministers committed an extra £390 million to help reduce some of the unfairness in school funding. This was good news, but I continue to have concerns about how this extra resource was allocated and I also want to hear Ministers confirm that this will not simply be a one-off payment. The ultimate goal, however, is to see a new National Funding Formula introduced which creates a fundamentally fair playing field. This would be a transformative achievement for pupils across in low funded authorities and that is why I am so determined we should overcome every obstacle to achieve this.”