On 7th March the Department for Education issued a consultation on fair school funding. They are seeking views and opinions on the guiding principles which will drive the allocation of money and replace the current system which is widely accepted to be unfair to large parts of the Country. The current consultation will be followed by a second part later in the year which will contain the really controversial bits like how much schools are likely to get and how the transition to the new arrangements will work.
Some of the stuff you may find interesting includes:
- Whilst the consultation is fairly clear that funding will be based on a per pupil amount with an uplift for students with additional needs and adjustments to take account of school characteristics, the nature of these characteristics is, according to the consultation, open to discussion. So please do put in your ideas.
- Apparently, all funding will be direct to schools, irrespective of whether a school is an academy or maintained. Whether this is because they expect all schools to be academies shortly after the new formula comes in is not clear but direct funding may well be a challenge for small rural schools.
- Pupil premium will be excluded from any formula. The reason for this is unclear but hopefully is not an indication that it is under threat.
- Although not explicit, it looks like there will be a guarantee that no school will see a reduction of more than 1.5% in its budget as a result of the reforms.
- PFI funding responsibilities will remain with local authorities until 2019 at the earliest. This may well be a recognition that it is never going to be possible to add PFI into a centralised fair funding formula.
So if any of those points or anything else about funding gets your goat, you have until 17th April to make your views known to the DfE.