Education

As I write, we are waiting for the Chancellor to deliver his Spending Review.  His decisions will greatly affect us locally.

Last week I wrote that the major roads investment programme is being maintained, so that the A27 upgrades which we so badly need will go ahead.

Now another good piece of news for us locally has been signalled: a change in the funding formula for schools to make it fair.

West Sussex MPs met the Education Secretary in September to raise this issue, I spoke about it in a debate earlier this month, and I also signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to address the situation.

Our county currently receives the lowest funding for schools of any in England and is the fourth lowest funded local authority.   Schools in West Sussex receive an average of just £4,208 per pupil, compared to an average of £6,297 in the ten best funded areas. 

The Government has already helped with £390 million a year of additional funding for the the worst affected authorities, but in West Sussex that means that we received less than £1 million a year more, whereas the actual gap, if we were funded at the average level of county councils, is something like £15 million.

Today we expect the announcement of a new funding formula which will set a national rate that every school will receive for each pupil, with additional funding for those with extra needs.

Crucially, from 2017-18 onwards we expect that the resources schools and local authorities will receive will be based on pupil characteristics rather than historic political calculations.  The Department for Education will consult on the detail of the announcement early next year.

I am delighted that the Government has committed to end the postcode lottery that means children in West Sussex lose out for no good reason.  We will need to see the full detail of the consultation, but in principle this represents a huge step forward and is a decision of lasting significance.

There will no doubt be tough decisions in the Spending Review today.  But a change on schools funding will be another win for West Sussex.


Document type

Articles

Published

26 November 2015

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