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is a national funding formula any closer?

23 November 2015

Pressure is building on the Conservative Government to stick by its manifesto promise to “make school funding fairer”.

The Coalition Government consulted widely on moving to a national formula, calling the current system of funding “opaque and extremely complex”. However, very little of substance was done to change the regime and the Education Secretary has stated that proposals will not be implemented until at least 2017-18.

This is despite general dissatisfaction amongst heads with the status quo, which has been demonstrated by Browne Jacobson and ASCL’s Leaders Survey (released on Friday), which reports that 92% of school leaders were dissatisfied with the Government’s funding of schools (of which 60% were very dissatisfied).

The current scheme does favour urban areas above more affluent rural areas (for instance Manchester schools receive £5088 per pupil, whereas Trafford receives 4,237 per pupil). However, finding a formula which will address the complexities caused by the dual system of maintained and academy regimes, whilst not being seen to be socially divisive, will be a tall order. The Government will need to tread carefully.

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