F40 and ASCL agree to work together to campaign for fair funding for schools

F40 – the group that has fought for fair funding for schools in England for over two decades – is teaming up with the Association of School and College Leaders to continue the fight for fairer funding for schools.

Following the introduction of the government’s new national funding formula in April, f40 has agreed to partner ASCL in future campaigning for further improvements to the formula.

ASCL will also have a representative on f40’s Executive Committee so that the two organisations can ensure that their campaign planning and delivery work in tandem and complement their individual plans and activities on school funding.

Both f40 and ASCL have previously welcomed the Government’s commitment via the national funding formula to a fairer system for allocating school funding, and the extra £1.3billion made available for schools between 2018-20.

However, both organisations continue to have concerns that the new formula fails to deliver what is required and that there is still more work to do to support schools with very low levels of funding.

Specifically, the f40 and ASCL are jointly calling on the government to:

  • Set out a timescale for ensuring that schools receive the full benefit of the new formula. Increases are capped at 3% per pupil this year and a further 3% next year, meaning some poorly funded schools are still far short of the uplift they should receive under the formula.
  • Make minimum funding levels fairer. At the moment, the minimum funding levels include any additional funding for factors like disadvantage, meaning schools have to use that money just to run the school rather than provide extra support for vulnerable pupils. Minimum funding levels should reflect the basic rate of funding for the core curriculum, with any additional factors on top of that sum.
  • Set out plans for the funding formula from 2020 onwards. Schools need to know whether there will be sufficient funding in the education budget to achieve the aims of the formula and when the government will move to a system of direct funding to schools rather than via local authorities.
  • Establish three to four-year budget settlements for schools which are inflation-proofed and include funding for cost-of-living increases.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient funding for high-needs education. The current level of funding is not sufficient and will come under greater pressure in the near future as government projections indicate an extra 11,000 special school places will be needed over the next five years.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The government deserves credit for grasping the nettle and introducing a new funding formula but the job isn’t finished. The main problem is that there is not enough money being put into the education system and this is preventing the formula from being implemented in full.

“As a result, schools that have historically been very poorly funded are still very poorly funded and nobody knows what the government intends to do about this from 2020 onwards. Schools and their communities need a long-term solution. We want the government to deliver sufficient funding, equitably distributed.”

F40 Chairman Cllr Ivan Ould, who is lead member for children’s services in Leicestershire, said: “We invited ASCL to contribute to our conference on fair funding In March and it became very clear that we have very similar concerns and goals.

“We will continue to campaign for a third ‘F’ – Fair’ – so that we have a national fair funding formula.”

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