F40, the group campaigning for fairer school funding, has submitted figures to the Secretary of State for Education for an immediate £99m uplift of funding for the worst funded schools and pupils in England.
Two weeks ago f40 representatives met the Secretary of State in London to discuss the outcome of a three-month School Funding Reform consultation which had sought to find a fairer way of allocating education funding among the country’s 150 education authorities. They were told that whilst acknowledging that the existing allocation system is unfair and inequitable the government did not intend to address the problem until after the 2015 election.
”We naturally felt aggrieved about the intended delay in putting right a significant injustice”, said f40 Chairman, Cllr Ivan Ould. “It was clear we could not get a change of heart for an earlier improvement to the system, but we made the case for an immediate ‘uplift’ in funding for the worst funded areas. We suggested that Secretary of State should offer some remedy to ease the position of schools and pupils in the worst funded local authority.”
The Secretary of State invited f40 to undertake some financial modelling to show the cost implications of a range of potential solutions, and the group has now delivered its proposals to him. They are:
“Though f40 would like to see the worst-funded local authorities receive increases in funding that takes them nearer to the national average, we recognise that such a major re-balancing will have to await the introduction of a new system, post-2015”, said Cllr Ould. “With this in mind, we think that option 2 is too costly in the current climate and so our preference, therefore, is for Option 3 to be implemented in 2012-13, with a similar increase in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
We believe that increases at these levels will help bridge the indefensible gap between the best and poorest funded local authority areas and will be a gesture that clearly demonstrates that the government truly recognises the unfairness inherent in the existing allocation arrangement.”