Progress has been made on the ‘historic underfunding’ of Northumberland schools with the award of millions of pounds of additional funding from next year.
Central government has recognised the issue of funding for the county’s schools and the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) is to be permanently increased to the tune of £12million in April 2015, the third step in the move towards a National Funding Formula.
In March and April, the Department for Education carried out consultation nationally on how an additional £350million should be distributed.
At that time, it was suggested that Northumberland may benefit by £10.6million.
By the summer, Northumberland’s share had increased to an indicative £12million, which, at 7.2 per cent, is the fourth highest percentage gain in the country.
However, the final cash increase will not be known until December as it will be based on this month’s school census figures.
In an interview with the Gazette earlier this year, on the back of last October’s Ofsted reports, Coun Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services, was keen to point out that Northumberland is in the F40 category – the 40 worst-funded LEAs (local education authorities).
“We are, and we have been for a long time, one of the worst-funded education authorities,” he said.
Before taking any decisions about changes to the funding formula, the council has an obligation to consult schools and the Schools Forum over any proposals.
Following this, it has been decided that the additional funding will be distributed to address the key educational challenges facing the school system in the county.