School funding campaign group f40 today warmly welcomed the announcement in the Spending Review that a new national funding formula is to be introduced by 2017.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, included a commitment to a new formula as part of his statement, confirming that the government intends to phase out the existing arbitrary and unfair system in favour of a new national funding formula.
Under the current system, the ten best funded areas of England are receiving an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year, compared to an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.
f40 Chairman, Ivan Ould said: “We have campaigned for a change to the unfair funding formula for nearly two decades so today’s announcement is brilliant news for the poorly funded authorities, schools and pupils in England.
“It is now clearly government policy to get rid of the irrational and unfair allocation arrangement that has created incredible inconsistencies in funding for individual schools with similar characteristics across the country.
“Naturally, we are keen to see the details of how the proposed change will proceed, especially the nature of the promised consultation. There is the potential for transformational change and I hope the government will deliver.
“In recent months, f40’s financial team has developed proposals and discussed them with experts in the Department for Education. This joint working has been extremely productive and there is significant agreement about what needs to be done…and by when.
“I would like to place on record my thanks to the many people and organisations that have, over the years, given their support to the fair funding campaign. Without their passion and commitment we would not be where we are today.”
F40 Vice Chairman, Graham Stuart MP added: “I am delighted that the government has committed to introduce a national funding formula for English schools, ending the postcode lottery that means many children lose out for no good reason. As always, the devil will lie in the detail and we will need to see the full proposals in the consultation, but in principle this represents a huge step forward and is a decision of lasting significance.
“That said, today’s news does not mark the end of our campaign. Having fought and failed to obtain fair school funding since my election in 2005, that moment will come only when the money is actually received by poorly-funded schools. When the full plans are published I will go back to ministers together with f40 colleagues and work hard to ensure the final settlement delivers the fairest possible deal.”