School funding campaign group f40 today welcomed the commitment to fair funding for schools given by new Secretary of State for Education but the group has expressed concern at the further delay in moving to a fairer allocation system for children in schools in the poorest funded areas.
It’s good and disappointing news in one announcement, said f40 Chairman, Councillor Ivan Ould. “We welcome the commitment to a new funding formula that Justine Greening has made and we think this is an important announcement by the new Secretary of State. But we are disappointed that the process of change is being extended yet again. The delay between the 1st and 2nd Stage consultations has already been far too long and now we are facing further delay of two to three months, and a delay in implementation to 2018-19 – a year later than promised.
“However, the group recognises the political difficulties that the government has had to navigate over the last four months and in many authorities there will be a degree of relief that an almost impossible timetable for introduction in 2017-18 has now been avoided.
“As we have been campaigning for a fairer funding system for over twenty years we can handle this delay, though many schools will feel cheated as they were anticipating a funding lift in the next financial year. They will now need to take urgent action to find ways of managing with insufficient funding for a further year.
“It’s three years since we announced that we had won the argument for fair funding and that the end was in sight for the existing arbitrary and unfair system that has disadvantaged hundreds of thousands of children for too many years. However, the machinery of government has been rather slow in getting to grips with this critically important change.
“The commitment to fair funding for all schools is fine, but local authorities, headteachers, parents and school children will not be happy until we 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”.