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To: Department for Education
Increasing Funding for Cheltenham's Schools
Introduce a new national funding formula that shares funding more fairly amongst schools in England and ends the historic shortfall affecting schools in Cheltenham.
Why is this important?
The existing school funding model is unfair. The ten best funded areas in England will receive an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year, compared to an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.
It means that schools around the country that are similar can get very different budgets, and children with the same needs can receive very different levels of financial support depending on where they go to school.
Gloucestershire (including Cheltenham of course) is one of the worst-funded authorities in the country and is a member of F40, a group made up of poorly funded local authorities and has been making the case for a fairer funding system.
Ministers have recognised the problem and promised to address it. We welcome this, together with the Government's confirmation that the additional £390 million awarded in 2015/16 as a “down payment” towards fairer funding will be included in the funding baseline for future years.
We are now looking to the Government to deliver a truly fair funding settlement.
At a time of spending restraint it is more important than ever that funding is allocated based on need. F40 has come up with a formula which would see the funding cake shared much more fairly. This has received a positive response from funding experts at the Department for Education.
The f40 proposals would:
• introduce a new national formula, based on a clear rationale and geared towards improving educational standards across the country;
• include core entitlement at a pupil level, reflecting different needs and costs at various key stages;
• use factors to reflect pupil level needs beyond the core entitlement, including deprivation and special educational needs, and reflect the needs of small schools that are necessary in a local authority’s structure; and
• continue to use Dedicated Schools Grant, with blocks for mainstream schools, high needs and early years. Local authorities would be free to move funding between the blocks.
We believe this formula can help deliver a solution. We want the children in our schools to continue to have a broad range of subjects to study, good resources to use, well maintained buildings, reasonably sized classes and excellent pastoral support. Fairer funding is integral to all of this, and we urge the Government to deliver it.