Monday, 20 November 2017

MP protests at plan to revamp schools funding

MP protests at plan to revamp schools funding

JOHN HOWELL has raised his concerns about schools funding with Education Secretary Justine Greening.

The Henley MP said it was “not acceptable” that many schools in Oxfordshire would lose out in the Government’s proposed new funding formula.

The small increases across the board would not keep up with running costs and many schools would be net losers, particularly when compared with other areas, he said.

Under the formula, almost all the primary schools in South Oxfordshire would receive up to three per cent less money and Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common would be the only secondary to benefit.

Mr Howell said: “The Secretary of State took note of my concerns but, of course, cannot comment until she has seen the output from the recent consultation.

“I will be discussing the matter further with the education minister Nick Gibb in the near future.

“The consultation on this has just closed and I hope that everyone responded to it to express concerns. I have been encouraging people to do so.”

At the moment, the formula is calculated by education authorities, such as Oxfordshire County Council, which means similar schools in different parts of the country receive vastly different amounts.

The Government says this is unfair and outdated and has proposed a national formula that would reduce the variations between areas.

However, many headteachers have criticised the plans, saying their budgets will be cut.

Gillotts School in Henley has said that under the new formula its income would be cut by 1.1 per cent, about £40,000.

Headteacher Catharine Darnton has said: “We have been making savings for seven years. We have cut all non-staff costs as far as we can.

“What you are seeing now is schools having to cut funding from frontline provision. Eighty per cent of schools funding goes on staff. You could start to see the curriculum being reduced, with fewer options.”

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