Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cautious Welcome To Schools Funding Announcement

Cambridgeshire pupils to receive extra cash next year

A cautious welcome has been given to news that Cambridgeshire pupils will receive extra cash next year.

The Government has announced a consultation that would result in Cambridgeshire’s schools per pupil funding – the lowest funded in the country – rising by about £20m in 2015/16 - equating to an extra £275 per pupil at local authority level.

Although each school is likely to experience a different level of increase due to their own individual circumstances, this is a significant boost for all primary and secondary schools across the county.  

Headteachers, governors, County Councillors and MPs have been campaigning for several years to secure more money for the county’s schools.

Cllr David Harty, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “We welcome this news of increased funding for 2015-16. It acknowledges the dire financial situation Cambridgeshire’s schools have been in for many years, as well as the tireless work that has been done by many people and organisations – particularly the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum - to raise the issue at the highest level.

“The extra funding is a step in the right direction – but there is a long way to go. Cambridgeshire has been chronically underfunded for many years and while today’s announcement is good news, we need to continue our work to secure a fairer approach to funding schools in the long term.”

Philip Hodgson, chair of the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum added: “I am pleased the Government has at last recognised the problem – but the extra money is needed now. This only starts to address the underlying low level of funding schools have suffered from for many years. We are also still awaiting the long-promised consultation on the future of funding for schools.

“Headteachers and governors throughout Cambridgeshire share the same aspiration - for a fairer system of funding to be introduced as soon as possible. The costs of running a school are virtually the same throughout England and yet huge cash differences exist. It cannot be right that two broadly similar schools, separated only by the authority boundary, can be funded so differently. That is the issue that needs addressing on a permanent basis.

“We all accept the country’s economic difficulties and the challenges these bring, but the school students of today will play a huge role in the support of our nation in the coming years and must be given the funding to provide for a first class education now.”