‘Our children get less funding than those in Hertfordshire’ - headteacher calls for change in Cambridgeshire

Steeple Morden Primary School headteacher Richard Lloyd with a letter sent to parents outlining his concerns over school funding in Cambridgeshire Steeple Morden Primary School headteacher Richard Lloyd with a letter sent to parents outlining his concerns over school funding in Cambridgeshire

Thursday, March 13, 2014
8:33 AM

A headteacher is calling for fairer funding of schools and says his school is losing out on £120,000 a year in funding.

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Richard Lloyd, headteacher at Steeple Morden Primary School, is joining other Cambridgeshire headteachers in urging parents to sign a petition calling for ‘bridging finance’ to be put in place until a fairer system of allocating funding is put in place for the county.

Cambridgeshire schools currently receive £3,949 per pupil per academic year, the lowest amount out of all 151 local authorities in the country.

This is more than £500 less than the national average of £4,450 and £350 a year less than schools just a few miles away from Royston in Hertfordshire.

All of this is due to the formula used to work out funding, which is weighted heavily in favour of other parts of the country.

Mr Lloyd said: “The Government has said the distribution of school funding across the country is unfair and irrational, but, so far, they have not done anything that gives Cambridgeshire proportionally more money, so our schools remain the worst funded in the country.

“The Government has, over the past few months, made a series of policy announcements regarding its intention to implement a National Fair Funding Formula for schools from 2015.

“However the budget allocations for April 2014 show that Cambridgeshire schools have once again lost out and another year of reduced funding will have an impact upon our schools.

“It’s frustrating because we’re so close to the border yet our children get less funding than those in Hertfordshire. If fairly funded, Steeple Morden Primary School would receive an extra £120,600 per year.”

Spokesman for Bassingbourn Village College Sandra Ready said: “Schools in Cambridgeshire have always been historically underfunded.

“All of the schools in the local area have been very vocal in lobbying for change because the disparity in funding with the rest of the country affects every aspect of the school.

“The Government has said that it wants to review school funding in 2015 and we support that but we want interim funding to help schools out in the county now.”

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “Headteachers and governors throughout Cambridgeshire share the same aspiration – for a fairer system of funding to be introduced as soon as possible.

“The costs of running a school are virtually the same throughout England and yet huge cash differences exist. It cannot be right that two broadly similar schools, separated only by the authority boundary, could be funded so differently. In the case of a 1,000-pupil secondary school for example, one in Cambridgeshire receives £370,000 less than one in Hertfordshire and £540,000 less than one in Peterborough.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

“The current system for funding schools is unfair and out of date.

“We expect to publish details of our reforms shortly and we have already made a number of changes to the way schools are funded.

“These changes will ensure that schools are funded on a more consistent and transparent basis. They will give head teachers and governors a greater say in how they spend their money.

“The overall schools budget has been protected over the course of this Parliament and in 2015-16.”Sign the e-petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/58898

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