Posts Tagged ‘schools’ funding’

The real scandal in education is the inequality in schools’ funding

25/09/2012, 07:54:28 AM

by Robin Thorpe

Education is widely regarded as the single biggest factor in lifting people out of poverty, it is also the most influential interaction that many people have with the state. Yet the way that schools’ funding is dispersed is not widely known and if the Labour movement is truly about breaking down inequalities then the huge disparities in funding across local authority boundaries needs to be acknowledged and changed.

Massive changes are currently being implemented to the way that schools are funded and these changes are being effected largely because of the extension of the academy system.

Most schools that changed to academy status in the last few years did so voluntarily and did so because they were offered the carrot of increased funding. This carrot will no longer be available to academies, as from 2013/14 all schools will have control over their entire budget.

The maintained schools still have their budget set by the local education authority  (academies receive their budget from the education funding agency), but all funds are now to be delegated directly to the school.

Under the current system the LEA retains part of the budget for maintained schools in return for providing core services such as payroll, CRB checks and contingency funding. The new system will see schools having to buy back into the service (or they can choose another provider).

This is part of a large (top-down) re-organisation of schools funding that seeks to remove local authority control over schools’ funding formula and replace it with a national funding formula (centralizing schools funding policy). The main reason for this seems to be that the EFA has to benchmark its funding formula for schools nationally and it can’t rationalize the differences between authorities to maintain parity for academy funding across county boundaries.

They are therefore seeking to simplify the system; however the system they are seeking to simplify is very complex. The current funding formula is based on actual school circumstances and has been developed over several years to direct funding to schools for a specific purpose; for example in Dorset there are several schools near army stations that have a number of children leaving and joining each year, this inevitably adds an administrative burden to these schools.


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