National Funding Formula
Last week the Education Secretary announced the Government’s final decisions on the national funding formula which will come into effect from April next year, delivering on the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledge to make school funding fairer.
It means welcome extra resources for West Sussex schools, which will see an increase in block funding of £27.7 million by 2019/20, a rise of 6.5 per cent, compared with a proposed increase of £14.5 million in the Government’s consultation last December. There will also be an increase of £1.3 million for high needs.
In March I led a robust submission to the Department of Education on behalf of West Sussex MPs urging the Government to redesign the proposed formula to provide a minimum level of funding for schools.
Following this, in July the Education Secretary an extra £1.3 billion for schools, increasing the core funding from almost £41 billion this year to £43.5 billion in two years’ time.
Next year (2018/19) West Sussex secondary schools will receive £4,756 per pupil in block funding, compared to £4,500 at present. Primary schools in the county will receive £3,677 per pupil.
Illustrative figures supplied by the Department for Education indicate that funding for schools in the Arundel & South Downs constituency will increase by 5.7 per cent.
Secondary schools will particularly benefit, with increases ranging from 5.3 per cent for the St Philip Howard Catholic School to 11.7 per cent for Downlands Community School.
Ormiston Six Villages Academy will receive a 7 per cent rise in funding, Angmering School 7.5 per cent and Steyning Grammar School 9.9 per cent.
Primary Schools in the constituency will receive increases ranging from 1 per cent to 12.4 per cent in the case of St Lawrence School in Hurstpierpoint. No primary school will lose funding, unlike in the draft proposals in December, addressing concerns I raised.
I am very pleased that the Government has introduced a minimum level of school funding, as West Sussex MPs suggested, and that the new fair funding formula will mean an overall increase of nearly £29 million for schools in our county.
We made a strong case for fair funding and this announcement goes a considerable way towards achieving it. Doubtless our schools would like to see more to enable them to meet cost pressures, but in the current fiscal climate, where other budgets have had to be cut, this is a good deal.