FRESH HOPE FOR SCHOOL FUND­ING

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - ZAHIR MO­HAMMED Cabi­net Mem­ber for Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills, Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil

WE have worked hard at Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil to im­prove the fund­ing of our schools, and I have said pub­licly more than once many times that seven out of the ten low­est funded schools in the coun­try are here in Buck­ing­hamshire.

In fact, Buck­ing­hamshire is host to the low­est funded school in the coun­try.

Yet Buck­ing­hamshire ed­u­ca­tion stan­dards, mea­sured par­tic­u­larly at Key Stage 4, con­tinue to out­per­form na­tional by some mar­gin.

But there is po­ten­tially good news in the off­ing!

Along with four other mem­bers of the f40 group of low­est-funded ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties in Eng­land, I re­cently met the Sec­re­tary of State and sep­a­rately the Min­is­ter for School Stan­dards to raise these con­cerns for and on be­half of Buck­ing­hamshire.

I am pleased to say that the Gov­ern­ment has taken a bold step in start­ing the sec­ond stage of the Na­tional Fund­ing For­mula con­sul­ta­tion, on De­cem­ber 14 2016, to de­liver fairer fund­ing for our schools.

This is not an in­crease in fund­ing, but a re­dis­tri­bu­tion of the ex­ist­ing pot of money, which means there­fore that the higher-funded schools in the coun­try will lose at the ex­pense of the lower funded.

I am pleased that, sub­ject to any changes aris­ing from the con­sul­ta­tion, Buck­ing­hamshire schools over­all will gain.

The head­lines fig­ures are that:

Buck­ing­hamshire schools will re­ceive ap­prox­i­mately an ad­di­tional £10 mil­lion an­nu­ally.

About 80% of Buck­ing­hamshire pri­mary schools and 90% of sec- on­daries will gain from the changes in fund­ing. Na­tion­ally about 54% of schools will gain and 46% lose. Over­all about 85% of Buck­ing­hamshire schools will gain fund­ing.

Buck­ing­hamshire’s 180 pri­mary schools will gain, on av­er­age, about £25,000 per year and our 35 sec­ondary schools will gain about £155,000 per year.

Of course, I would like to see all Buck­ing­hamshire schools gain, and for per-pupil fund­ing to be in line with the na­tional av­er­age for there to be gen­uine fair­ness and equal­ity of per pupil fund­ing in the coun­try, but this is ex­cel­lent news for Buck­ing­hamshire schools over­all.

The County Coun­cil and the Gov­ern­ment are com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing the life chances of chil­dren and young peo­ple, and this will go some way to achiev­ing that across most schools.

I’d like to thank school Heads and Lead­ers for their sup­port in rais­ing the pro­file of fairer fund­ing in Buck­ing­hamshire.

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