MP for Tamworth Christopher Pincher has welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to introduce fair school funding as part of his recent Comprehensive Spending Review.
The announcement was made as schools across the town took part in a petition, organized by Mr Pincher, to persuade the Government to fix this age-old problem. A new funding formula will set a national rate that every school will receive for each pupil, with additional funding for those with extra needs.
Crucially, from 2017-18 onwards the resources schools and local authorities will receive will be based on pupil characteristics rather than historic political calculations. The Department for Education will consult on the detail of the announcement in early 2016.
The announcement signals an end to the current unfair system, which has lasted for decades and led to a situation where the ten best funded areas of England receive an average of £6,300 per pupil of schools block funding, compared to just £4,200 in the ten worst funded areas, with no objective basis for the difference.
It follows years of campaigning by the F40 Group of poorly funded local authorities including Staffordshire, and a concerted Parliamentary campaign to make the issue a top political priority.
In October, Chris was one of 111 MPs who wrote to the Prime Minister to call for fairer funding to be introduced, and on 5 November, he demanded action in a debate on the issue in Westminster Hall. On Tuesday 1 December, Mr Pincher joined MPs as petitions from over 100 constituencies calling for fair funding were presented formally to the House of Commons.
Speaking after the announcement, Mr Pincher said, “I will be pressing the Secretary of State for Education to ensure Staffordshire’s schools are a priority in the reformulation of the schools funding formula. The announcement in the Spending Review has proven the F40 Campaign successful, but the hard work continues to deliver a fair funding formula for every school and every child. I will be writing to the Education Secretary to make this case.”
Graham Stuart MP, who serves as Vice Chairman of the F40 Campaign representing the worst-funded authorities, said, “I am delighted that the Government has committed to introduce a national funding formula for English schools, ending the postcode lottery that means children in Tamworth lose out for no good reason.
“As always, the devil will lie in the detail and we will need to see the full detail of the consultation, but in principle, this represents a huge step forward and is a decision of lasting significance.
“I am very grateful to Chris Pincher; he has played a big role as a Patron of the Fair School Funding Campaign. He has worked tirelessly to draw attention to the unfair funding gap both in Tamworth and the recent announcement in the Spending Review marks a real breakthrough.”
The F40 campaign represents a group of the lowest funded education authorities in England where government-set cash allocations for primary and secondary pupils are the lowest in the country.