Schools to receive ‘fair funding’ formula

Changes to reduce variation in funding in spend per pupil will be enforced in 2017-18 after consultations on the details, set to take place in early 2016.

School budgets are likely to be affected by an eight per cent fall per pupil, as a result of rising costs over the next five years.

However, ministers have admitted that funding differences which have accumulated over decades must be addressed.

Education Minister Sam Gymiah told MPs: "It is patently unfair that Knowsley received nearly £750 less per pupil than Wandsworth."

A greater number of pupils in the deprived borough in the north west of England are entitled to free meals than in the wealthier London borough.

Graham Stuart, one of the vice-chairs for the f40 campaign which has lobbied for change, voiced his approval in regard to the firmer policy commitment. He said: "You're talking about redistribution, which is easier to implement at a time of rising budgets.

"But the case for change is more important than ever at a time when budgets are not increasing."

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says that in the current financial year the gap between the best and worst funded schools in England is £1.9m.

Brian Lightman, ASCL's general secretary, said he was very pleased with the government’s pledge to commit to fairer funding.

He said: ”The key issue will be to make sure the plans are modelled thoroughly over a realistic timeframe, to make sure schools can maintain the quality of education during change.”

While the changes are intended to have a positive impact, It is likely that London boroughs will be among those who lose out as a result of the new funding formula.

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