Appeal to PM by council on school funding fears

Coun Grant Davey, Northumberland County Council and Labour leader.
Coun Grant Davey, Northumberland County Council and Labour leader.
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Northumberland County Council has joined scores of local authorities in writing to the Prime Minister about school funding fears.

The proposed new National Funding Formula could affect the way small schools are run, funded and supported.

In December, we reported that the county council’s audit committee working group, which was set up to analyse the funding of small, rural schools, proposed a series of actions.

The 38 representatives of the f40 group – a group of the lowest-funded education authorities in England – have warned that the Government’s proposed formula ‘seems to be weighted more towards maintaining stability than achieving fairness’.

At present, the local authority is able to make decisions on how some funding is allocated to any schools which are not academies, but by 2019/20, it will all be directly allocated to schools. The f40 group wants more local flexibility for councils to decide how to allocate money to schools in their areas.

Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Delivering the best possible education is a priority for us and we have been working closely with small schools ahead of the funding formula being issued.

“Our concern, and the concern of other local authorities, is that the changes impact adversely on the opportunities for young people.

“Small schools are clearly vulnerable and face the biggest funding squeeze.

“Our joint letter to the Prime Minister highlights that schools in lower-funded areas have reached the limit of where cuts can be made and we cannot understand where more cuts could be made in the lowest-funded authorities.”

The Government’s consultation on the funding formula ends on Wednesday.

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