Are South Cambridgeshire Pupils Worth Less?
I have launched a joint campaign with local Head Teachers for our pupils to be given a fairer deal in the Government’s National Funding Formula.
In December, the government published proposals to deliver a National Funding Formula across all schools in England. The government pledged to develop a clear, simple and transparent system that matches funding to children’s needs and the schools they attend. Schools were told that they would receive a consistent and fair share of funding.
However I believe weighting of the current factors in the formula is disproportionate to core need and will not address the impact of decades of poor funding if simply superimposed on our historically under funded landscape.
Under the current funding proposal, 27 of my schools will be even worse off; in real terms by at least 8%. When you are existing on a shoe string, such a reduction would constitute the final straw.
South Cambridgeshire schools, who received an interim funding boost in 2015-16, have historically been some of the lowest funded schools in the country, with per pupil funding up to £3000 lower than the same age pupils in Haringey, Tower Hamlets and other high funded areas. If the government’s proposal were implemented, based on current pupil data, those schools in London would be in line to receive up to £6,675 per pupil per year, yet schools in South Cambridgeshire would still only receive £4,198; How is that fair?
This isn’t just about fairness, it’s about equality. The Education Secretary recognised, in her own consultation document that ‘underfunded schools do not have access to the same opportunities to do the best for their children, and it is harder to attract the best teachers to afford the right support’ – I believe the Secretary of State is absolutely right and that’s why I’m pushing for the weighting of the formula to be recalculated. My pupils are not worth less than equivalent pupils in Haringey, so we need to fight for them
I’m pleased the Department have given us the opportunity through this extended consultation to road-test these proposals. This is our chance to demonstrate what they really mean for our young people. A strong consultation response is the only way we will get the message across that South Cambridgeshire pupils are worth more.
National Funding Formula – how you can help
All schools will be sending a letter to parents, staff and governors to encourage as many people as possible to have their say. If you care about our schools and want to support us, please take time to respond to the consultation, sign your school’s petition and write to Ministers to demonstrate what this will mean for our young people. Details about the consultation questions and suggested responses can be found here.
Contributing to the consultation, running until 22nd March, is THE most important thing you can do. You can access it here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/
You can also write to:
The Rt Honourable Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for Education, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rt Honourable Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1 Horse Guards Road, London SW1A 2HQ - email: email@example.com
Wherever possible, write personalised letters based on the consultation questions. Spell out the specific situation in your school, including how much funding they stand to lose and what kind of decisions they may face as a result. That could be core staffing reductions, a lack of buildings' maintenance, less one-to-one support for struggling pupils or a reduction in extra-curricular activities that families rely on.
Thank you for your support; together, I hope we can encourage the Government to think again.