The Government is proposing to introduce a new fair National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools throughout England. This is the biggest change to school funding for well over a decade. Currently the formula is calculated by individual Council authorities, which means similar schools in different parts of the country receive very different amounts.
Under the proposals announced more than 9,000 schools in England will lose funding which includes most schools in Henley and Shiplake (only Trinity School got a tiny increase). Gillotts, Badgemore and Shiplake Primary Schools are the worst affected with between (-2.5 to -1.1%) of their funding being lost. In real money, this is £11K for Badgemore, £18K for Shiplake and £41K for Gillotts.
Oxfordshire Schools Forum held a meeting and wrote to the F40 (Campaign for Fairer Funding in Education) Executive Committee “Whilst we welcome the overall gain to Oxfordshire’s funding this is a very small gain when set against the National Audit office assessment that schools are facing an overall 8% real terms reduction in per pupil funding by 2019-2020. Oxfordshire’s overall gain would be 1.5% if the NFF was fully implemented. As an F40 authority, we certainly did not anticipate a national funding formula in which almost half of our schools would receive less money than under the current funding system.”
BBC Sunday Politics South visited Badgemore School and spoke to Headteacher, Jacky Steele about the new funding formula. You can watch it here (48 mins in)
Jacky said, afterwards, “There is no doubt that funding for schools has been unfair for many years; Local Authorities have traditionally allocated funding in line with their own priorities, which has resulted in hugely differing per-pupil sums across the country. Initially Headteachers and school leaders welcomed an overhaul of the school funding formula, which we hoped would lead to fairer funding for all schools and their pupils, but once again we have been let down. “
“For pupils at Badgemore, this is devastating. Initially, Nicky Morgan MP (ex Secretary of State for Education) indicated that small schools would not lose out under a new funding formula, but we are the smallest school in Henley and, according to Dfe draft figures, we will lose the most of all Henley schools – 2.3% down within two years. Currently the Minimum Funding Grant (MFG) tops up our funding but the proposals of the new funding arrangements indicate that the MFG will only continue during the ‘transition period’, ie. for two years – what happens after that? When we factor in the additional costs we will face with regard to salary, pension and NI increases for staff, plus other imposed commitments such as the apprenticeship levy that all schools have been directed to contribute, we are looking at a significant loss of funding. We are already stretched to the limit in terms of what we can realistically cut without impacting the academic and emotional wellbeing of our children – further cuts will significantly impact our ability to deliver a curriculum that leads to the high standards we wish to achieve.”
A government consultation is open until 22 March. To have your say go to https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/