The DfE has halted plans to introduce a new ‘fair funding’ formula that would supposedly allocate the money given to schools by the government more evenly.
The Conservatives were hoping to introduce the formula next year but Justine Greening, the new Education Secretary has outlined in a written statement why new funding will not be possible until 2018.
Greening defended her choice to avert committing to a plan that would increase the funding per pupil in the statement.
“There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once in a generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right.”
Greening recognises that the state of school funding at the moment is dire, mentioning that the current system is ‘arbitrary, out of date and unfair’ in her statement.
Her observations, however, have not done anything to quash school leaders’ and local authorities’ claims that a delay in the introduction of the new funding formula is ‘potentially catastrophic‘, according to Julia Harnden at Association of School and College Leaders when speaking with the Guardian.
The NUT issued a joint statement outlining the real concerns that they have with the failure to implement a fair funding scheme to combat rising inflation. Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT, commenting in another statement on their website foresees schools having ‘the worst cuts since the 70s‘ leading to ‘increase in class sizes, subjects being dropped from the curriculum, fewer books and resources, cuts to school trips and a rise in the number of pupils taught by unqualified teachers.’
Back in March of this year, the government held an open consultation, allowing the public to give their opinion on how to proceed with the funding formula. This led to widespread enthusiasm amongst those involved in the education sector.
Another reason for excitement amongst those students, teachers and headmasters in schools suffering from poor resources was the announcement that George Osborn had pledged £500m to help over 90% of the schools in England, especially in the north.
An IPPR report cited by the Guardian outlines the funding gap between London and the north, £900 for primaries and £1,300 for secondary schools.
The government has pledged to improve social mobility in the education sector, but after the increase in tuition fees, striking of maintenance grants and now the lack of funding for underperforming schools, it seems more difficult than ever for those with low socioeconomic status to break into top universities and high paying positions.
The one consolidation that Greening gives in her statement on the funding crisis is the confirmation that no local authority will see a reduction in their 2016/17 budget. Schools on the other hand, may see cuts of up to 1.5% per pupil in the 2017/18 academic year, although the current minimum funding guarantee will remain the same for the time being.
Greening has released a document to help local authorities and schools plan the implementation of their local funding system for the 2017/18 in an act of transparency.