MP Robert Halfon responds to Vic Goddard’s comments on cash promise for schools
Education: Secondary / Tue 26th Jul 2022 at 06:53am
MP Robert Halfon has responded to Headteacher Vic Goddard’s comments on a press release issued by the Harlow politician where he claimed Harlow schools were set to benefit from an £84 million cash boost.
Mr Halfon said: ““I welcome Vic Goddard’s message to Your Harlow.
“To clarify, last week, the Secretary of State for Education wrote to all colleagues that the provisional funding for 2023-2024 has been published. In his letter, he confirmed that the total core school budget for England will rise to £56.8 billion by 2024-25, and that in 2023-24, core schools funding is increasing by £1.5 billion.
“Alongside this letter, I received a further breakdown for Harlow which showed the provisional funding increase, through the National Funding Formula, to just over £84.7 million – representing a 2.5% increase.
“As Vic rightly points out, and as I highlighted in my correspondence to him and other Harlow schools, these figures are provisional because currently, local authorities remain responsible for determining schools’ final allocations through their own local funding formula.
“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but I would like to be clear that every primary school will receive at least £4,405 per pupil, and every secondary school at least £5,715 per pupil.
“Going forwards, the Department for Education intends to move to a system whereby the National Funding Formula directly determines the allocations that schools receive.
“Harlow residents will know that I have always campaigned for more schools and college funding. Just recently, Harlow schools have benefitted from the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund and the School Rebuilding Programme.
“In 2019, the Education Select Committee, which I chair, released a report on the need for more school funding. This contributed to the Government’s provision of an additional £14 billion for schools up to 2023, taking the total schools budget to £52.2 billion by 2023. This included an extra £780 million for children with SEND, £500 million for Family Hubs, and just last year, the then Chancellor committed an additional £2.5 billion for skills.
“As always, I will continue to work hard for Harlow and the villages to ensure that every school has the resources it needs to enable every child to climb the educational ladder of opportunity.”
In the Education Select Committee report referred to by Robert Halfon at paragraph 31 it has this to say about the National Funding Formula (NFF) referred to as a 'hard' formula, the 'soft' being local authority derived: 'Our evidence on the intentions behind the NFF was largely positive, though views on the level of local flexibility were more mixed. We heard from councils that the current soft formula could capture local complexities and provide flexibility for appropriate interventions much better than the hard formula. The National Education Union also supported a soft formula, arguing that “no ‘hard’ national funding formula can account for, quantify or respond to every local circumstance”.The Local Government Association said that a future formula would need to include an ongoing element of flexibility allowing councils to adjust distributions “if that produces better outcomes for schools and pupils”. On the other hand, we heard that existing local flexibilities had led to different decisions being taken by different local authorities in objectively similar circumstances. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) believed that a continuation of the soft formula risked perpetuating funding anomalies within a distribution system that was based more on location than actual levels of need.'. Paragraph 27 explains the two funding models: 'The main source of revenue for 5–16 school funding comes from the dedicated schools grant (DSG), which is notionally divided into schools, early years, and high needs funding blocks. Since the introduction of the NFF from April 2018, the size of each block has been determined by a specific formula. The formula for schools included a set of 14 weighted factors to calculate funding distributions. For the year 2019–20 the basic per-pupil funding was weighted at 73%, whilst the additional needs and school-led funding accounted for 17.6% and 8.8% respectively.' Vic Goddard may well be concerned about paragraph 33 that says: "The funding formula was also criticised for providing insufficient financial increases to schools in historically underfunded areas. These issues, together with the inclusion of historical factors within the NFF, did not appear to support the Government’s contention that the new system offered a “fairer” funding model."
So it seems that schools will get a 2.5% increase. However, if inflation is 11.1%, this is not a real terms increase. Also, if teachers pay increases by 2% next year as has been suggested (and if this is not fully funded), this will further erode the "2.5%".
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