Last week, the Government took the first steps towards a new national funding formula for schools. Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, announced that the new formula will level the playing field of school funding, which currently heavily favours some areas more than others. Fairer funding will also mean that schools and pupils in greater need will receive greater funding, allowing everyone a fair chance at success.
Under the current system, a school in one part of the country can receive over 50% more funding than an identical school in another area. For example, a school in central London could receive £9,373 per pupil, while in Gloucestershire that same school would receive just £4,661 per pupil. This discrepancy continues to grow, and we want to put it right.
The new funding formula will ensure that schools with similar situations and demographics will receive the same proportional funding, regardless of location. A national formula will now determine school funding, rather than local authorities, delivering a fairer proportion of funds direct to the frontline. Gloucestershire schools will benefit as their funding is brought in line with the national average.
The changes will also guarantee that funding genuinely matches pupil need. Over the last ten years, distribution of need has changed across the country and the funding system has not kept up. Consultations with schools on objective, evidence based factors that actively drive the cost of funding pupils will provide an accurate representation of schools in need of extra assistance. The new funding formula will be slowly transitioned into place, ensuring that the change is manageable and effective.
By making the tough decisions needed to get our economy back on track, we can afford to protect schools funding in real terms. This is a strong financial commitment to education. Core funding to schools will be over £40 billion in 2016/17, and this is the largest education budget for primary and secondary schools in history, transforming education and allowing children to realise their potential.