The f40 Group has explained to Members of Parliament why it is dissatisfied with the government’s proposals for schools funding and why they will fail to deliver the promised fair funding for schools.
In a packed meeting room at the House of Commons yesterday, MPs from poorly funded authorities across England heard that f40 believes the proposals fall short of what was expected and do not deliver true funding fairness.
The presentation and subsequent discussion will help set the tone of f40’s formal response to the government’s fair funding consultation which closes on 22 March 2017.
F40, which has campaigned for over twenty years to see changes in the way funds are allocated to schools across the country, explained that there are four key elements of the proposals that its member authorities are unhappy about and will be asking the government to consider, namely:
- The proportion of weighting given to additional needs rather than basic entitlement
- The 3% funding floor, which ‘locks in’ historical differences
- The weakness of evidence used to support the proposals
- The amount invested in education funding and the cost pressures facing all schools.
F40 Chairman, Cllr Ivan Ould, a Leicestershire County Council member, said: “There is obviously a high level of concern among many MPs who are looking at a formula change that has a negative impact on many schools within their constituencies. They are alarmed that so many schools are losers and fail to understand why this should be the case when those schools were already poorly funded and well below the national average.
“Despite the fact that the proposed funding formula indicates a total gain of £183 million for f40 member authorities once the national formula is fully implemented from 2019-20, it is simply not acceptable that some poorly funded authorities will not gain and that many schools, both primary and secondary, within poorly funded authorities will actually lose out.
“We have agreed to undertake some further work that will indicate how f40’s own formula suggestions – which were developed last year and presented to the Department for Education at that time, could introduce a fairer outcome in this once in a generation change to school funding.”
Alex Chalk MP, who represents Cheltenham, is a recently appointed Vice Chair of f40 and is leading the parliamentary campaign for fair funding for schools. He said: “It’s absolutely right that the government has grasped the nettle of unfair schools funding, but the formula that officials have come up with needs more work.
It’s vitally important that one injustice isn’t replaced with another, and f40 will be working constructively to present evidence-based arguments to improve the formula. I was really encouraged that so many MPs are engaging with this issue so closely.”