Thursday, 10 April 2014

Local School Funding Improvements by Cllr Sebastian Kindersley

Our children, they say, are our future. So how we educate them is all of our business and as you may recall we have been pressing hard for fairer funding for Cambridgeshire schools. Last month the Government announced improved funding for Cambridgeshire (and 60 other authorities) which are towards the lower end of the league table. This will mean about £20 million extra in 2015 (nb not 2014) and that has been widely flagged as £275 per pupil. It will not quite work out like that by the time the extra money has been through the County distribution formula so don't too excited!

However, this news is welcome, not just because it provides some extra cash but because it is a public and governmental recognition that the present national funding distribution mechanism is unfair. This unfairness was pointed out very clearly to previous Governments so hurrah that a Coalition has listened!

That said, the reform is very modest. It still leaves a gap of about £2800 per pupil between the highest and lowest funded authorities. There will always be a gap in cash terms and rightly so because the needs of different areas of the country are significant and require better funding. But the gap is simply too wide. So, as with most things in government, it is slightly less black and white than one might think.

Our short-version response to the announcement is - good, well done, a move in the right direction but still a long way to go….