This afternoon in Westminster, Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and the former vice-chair of the f40 campaign for fairer funding has warmly welcomed the announcement that the Government will introduce the first ever national funding formula for schools, high needs and early years. This will ensure schools funding is transparently and fairly linked to children’s needs. This will end the system where a child from a disadvantaged background in one school attracts half as much as a child in identical circumstances in another school, simply because of where they live.
In today’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, announced the government will phase out what Robin and many other cross-party MPs have felt is an unfair school funding system which has, according to the Chancellor “systematically underfunded schools in whole swathes of the country”. There will be a new National Funding Formula from 2017.
This reform will give schools more certainty over future budgets, empowering head teachers to take local decisions for the long term. The Government will launch a detailed consultation in 2016 and implement the new formulae from 2017-18. There will be a transitional period to help smooth the implementation of the new formula.
In addition to the above, the schools budget is protected in real terms and total financial support for education – including childcare – will increase by £10bn. Further good news includes 500 new free schools and university technical colleges. There are now 5,000 academies and there was an additional announcement that sixth form colleges will be able to become academies too to ensure they no longer have to pay VAT.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP said:
“We will phase out the arbitrary and unfair school funding system that has systematically underfunded schools in whole swathes of the country. In its place, we will introduce a new national funding formula. I commend the many MPs from all parties who have campaigned for many years to see this day come. The formula will be start to be introduced from 2017 – and my Right Honourable Friend the Education Secretary will consult in the New Year.”
“Up until recently, I led the f40 cross party campaign here in Parliament to secure fairer school funding for the lowest funded areas. After a number of backbench debates to press for a fairer system of allocating funding, and thanks to the work of many dedicated colleagues and the f40 group, today’s announcement is a huge achievement”. I was delighted to move on this from role to PPS for the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and I am looking forward to working with her to deliver fair funding.”
“I would like to congratulate all those people in the f40 campaign who have worked on this many years including local schools Governors and Headteachers in Worcestershire. In addition, I would like to say thank you to my colleague Graham Stuart MP who took over the f40 campaign from me this summer. His hard work over the past few months has been tremendous. I have attended a number of meetings with MPs from all over the country to discuss this. I have been able to keep on raising this issue directly with Ministers and I am delighted by today’s news. I raised the case for fairer funding back in my maiden speech to the Chamber in 2010. In this year’s Conservative manifesto, there was a clear commitment to a new fair funding formula and today the Chancellor has made it possible for the government to deliver on this pledge.”