Responding to the government’s announcement of final proposals for the National Funding Formula, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said “NAHT has been lobbying for a national funding formula for many years. The current approach that varies in each local authority has clearly been unfair, as pupils with similar needs are funded differently depending on where they live. This new formula will ensure a consistent approach to funding schools based on the needs of their pupils and we support the range of factors being used to determine each school’s allocation.
“However, we are disappointed that the opportunity has been missed to ensure that the funding goes directly to schools based on their need. For the first two years, the funding will go to local authorities to then review and distribute based on their own factors – there is a real risk that this could perpetuate some of the inconsistencies this was intended to address.
“Today’s announcement also sees an improvement on the original proposals, with the calculation that no schools should lose under the formula in per pupil terms, and no local authority will receive less cash per pupil or for high needs pupils compared to this year.
“Whilst we welcome the new formula and the additional £1.3 billion over the next two years that the Secretary of State has pledged to support these improvements, the fact remains that it’s still well short of addressing the £3bn funding gap that the National Audit Office highlights schools face from 2019.
“School budgets are at breaking point, and we calculate that schools need at least an extra £2 billion each year of this parliament to address real terms cuts. Without that, schools will be forced to cut staff, narrow the curriculum, remove pastoral support and restrict after school clubs. The Chancellor must address this in the upcoming Budget, as the changes in school funding need to be backed up by sufficient funding from the Treasury. This is the next step the government must take.”
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