West Sussex MPs' statement on school funding

West Sussex MPs lobbied hard for the introduction of a National Funding Formula, and the extra £28 million for West Sussex schools has gone a considerable way towards making funding fairer. Our secondary schools will receive up to 12 per cent more funding when the Formula is fully implemented. 

We recognise that there is further to go, and that schools are facing cost pressures, and we are particularly concerned about the funding of primary schools once transitional help has passed, the sustainability of small rural primary schools and the challenges for schools in less well-off urban areas. We have been in constant discussions with our local schools and West Sussex County Council about these issues. Our schools should be funded on the same basis as those in their peer group across England, although we must be wary of crude comparisons since everyone is agreed that schools in very deprived inner city areas will always have additional needs.

This issue remains a high priority for West Sussex MPs, and we will continue to stand up strongly for our local schools, including through representations to the new Education Secretary and the Chancellor.  However, this is not just about funding. We are also very concerned about standards which in too many West Sussex schools have not been good enough, and we want to hear more about how improvements will be made.


1. Nick's campaign on fair funding

To see everything Nick has been doing on the school funding issue:  http://tinyurl.com/kbg7f3n.   His recent West Sussex County Times article on the issue may be read here.

2. Overall impact of NFF on West Sussex

The National Funding Formula delivers on full implementation (on the basis of current pupil numbers) an additional £28 million to West Sussex.

3. Allocation of funds under NFF

The Formula allocates 73 per cent of funds to support basic funding on a per pupil basis. 27 per cent addresses the “additional needs” of
individual pupils and is allocated on the same, transparent, basis across the country.

Factors attracting “additional needs” support include pupils attending school from a deprived background, with low prior attainment or with English as their second language. 

Hackney, for example, with nearly half its students speaking English as a second language and nearly one third of students eligible for free school meals secures more funding than West Sussex.  London schools must pay a higher London weighted salary.  This can account for 10-15 per cent higher costs.

School Deprivation and Language indicators

(Source: 'Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2017', House of Commons Library, extracted from January 2017 School Census)

4. Allocation of funds to selected West Sussex schools

Under the NFF the impact on individual schools varies considerably across the County. Small schools with low pupil numbers have a particular issue with the reduction under the formula in the block grant available to schools irrespective of pupil numbers.

The Government has published illustrative funding as if the NFF had been implemented in full and without transition, based on the 2017-18 pupil count. It is important to note that these are not actual allocations for any specific year: they are illustrations based on 2017-18 data for most schools ("if full" data for new and growing schools) to support understanding of the NFF. (Actual allocations for future years will reflect updated pupil characteristics and pupil numbers and will be subject to future spending review decisions.)

On the above basis the per pupil impact on schools that have been flagged up recently, on full implementation, is as follows:

Secondary school                                       Percentage change in pupil-led  funding

The Angmering School                                  7.5%

Bishop Luffa School, Chichester                   9.6%

Chichester High School                                 6.1%

Davison CE High School                               7.2%

Durrington High School                                5.4%

Felpham Community College                       7.4%

Ifield Community College                             12.1%

Oriel High School                                         11.4%

Sackville School                                            9.8%

St Paul's Catholic College                             9.6%

St Wilfrid's Catholic School, Crawley           9.4%

Steyning Grammar School                            9.9%

Tanbridge House School                               11.5%

The Littlehampton Academy                        3.3%

The Sir Robert Woodard Academy              5.2%

The Weald School                                        10.8%

Worthing High School                                   8.3%

5. School standards

A letter of 20 November 2017 from the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, to Sir Nicholas Soames can be read here. It shows that:

• 70 per cent of pupils in West Sussex state schools reached the expected standard in reading at the end of Key Stage 2 last year, meaning that West Sussex ranked 94th out of 150 education authorities.

• 71 per cent of pupils in West Sussex state schools reached the expected standard in mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2 last year, meaning that West Sussex ranked 125th out of 149 education authorities.

• 55 per cent of pupils in West Sussex state schools reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics combined at the end of Key Stage 2 last year, meaning that West Sussex ranked 135th out of 150 education authorities.

• There are no schools in West Sussex in the top 250 state funded primary schools with pupils working to a higher standard of mathematics, or a combination of reading, writing and mathematics.