Wednesday, 14 November 2012

County Steps Up Campaign For Fairer Funding For Schools

A campaign to secure a fairer system of funding for Cambridgeshire's schools continues as the county's schools receive their draft budgets for 2013-14.

As a result of national changes, some primary and secondary schools in the county will see significant reductions in their budgets compared with the previous year.

The main reason for the changes is that the Government is moving from a local formula for funding - developed with Cambridgeshire Schools Forum to reflect the circumstances of the county's schools - to a nationally prescribed formula with limited local flexibility.

Other nationally enforced changes include a requirement for schools to contribute towards each statement of special educational needs, which will result in an additional commitment for a large number of schools when compared to the current system.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been supporting the county's schools in lobbying the Government for many years to secure a fairer system of funding for the county's schools, including sending a delegation of students and teachers to meet officials from the Department for Education.

Cllr David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove last month expressing his 'severe concerns' about the likely impact of the new funding arrangements on school budgets.

"We remain acutely disappointed that Government have not progressed their fair funding proposals within the education reforms. The impact of not having honoured this commitment leaves Cambridgeshire as one of the lowest funded authorities in the country.

"The current funding changes have been rushed and pay insufficient regard to the needs of Cambridgeshire's schools and pupils.

"We will be working with our schools to help them lessen the impact of any potential drop in funding, and to this end have issued draft budgets three months earlier than usual. But we will continue to call on the Government to bring forward their fair funding proposals as soon as possible, to enable all children to have an equal and fair start in life," he said.