Campaign group f40, which represents the local authorities with the poorest funded schools in England, has warmly welcomed today’s announcement that extra funding will be made available by the government to begin the process of making the allocation system fairer.
An announcement in Parliament this morning stated that an extra £350 million of funding is to be available in 2015-16 to those local authorities in at the lower end of the school funding league table.
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: “This is excellent news for schools and pupils in f40 areas across England who have been under-funded for so many years.
“The Coalition Government is the first administration in the past 20 years to even acknowledge that the existing formula is unfair and inequitable, so we are pleased that it has now acted to start to rectify the situation.
“The additional funding is seen as a down-payment, or first step towards a new and fairer allocation system. This marks a huge step forward for our campaign for fair funding. 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.
“This is a red letter day for members of f40 who can now look forward to a time when the injustice will end.
“I want to place on record my own and f40’s thanks to the government, the many Members of Parliament that have vigorously argued our case, to local councillors and officers, governors and teaching staff and parents who have supported the campaign over so many years.”
The promise of a long-awaited national funding formula, to replace the existing discredited arrangements, was made by Education Secretary Michael Gove twelve months ago and reaffirmed by the Chancellor, George Osborne, in his Spending Review speech last summer.
F40 had expected an announcement for a three month consultation on the new proposals would have been launched before Christmas or early in the New Year, and there was general disappointment that a delay occurred. F40 now welcomes the launch of the consultation as a first step towards a new and fairer national funding formula.