Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Will your child’s school get less money this year ?

There will be no major reduction in basic spending for schools this coming year. Schools are funded according to how many pupils they have so schools with falling rolls will obviously get less but the reduction in the per pupil payment will be limited to 1.5%. The serious cut is in the money for minor capital works (roof repairs, external painting etc). This will be reduced by about 80% from last year’s figure. Those schools which have forward spent their anticipated Devolved Formula Capital will have to find the money from their main budget and that could cause problems.

The good news is that the Liberal Democrat policy of a ‘Pupil Premium’ for the poorest children will be implemented from April 2011. Every school will receive £430 for each pupil registered for Free School Meals. This can be spent at the school’s discretion provided it contributes to helping the poorest children make greater progress.

Academies

Education Minister Michael Gove’s policy on academies is costly, divisive and unfair. On top of their regular funding, Academies get extra to pay for the services they no longer receive from the Local Authority. This extra money, which is usually more than they need, comes partly from what the LA holds back to help children with acute special needs and partly from the general grant to councils. This year Cambridgeshire alone has lost £1.71 million on top of all the other cuts it has suffered.

The Liberal Democrats voted at their conference last September to try to dissuade school governors from taking this course of action. Liberal Democrats believe in good local schools for all, democratically accountable and fairly funded.

For more detail on academies, see the web-site of the Cambridgeshire CC Lib Dem spokesman on education: www.peterdownes.mycouncillor.org.uk/education