1970s rules ‘rob Yorkshire schools of £40m funding’

Graham Stuart MP
Graham Stuart MP
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SCHOOLS in Yorkshire are missing out on £40m a year in funding due to archaic rules that date back to the 1970s, it is claimed.

Pupils falling behind at Key Stage 2 could see their grades improve and schools better resourced with a fairer settlement, the Yorkshire MP campaigning for a better deal said today.

With Government pressure now mounting, Graham Stuart, MP for Beverly and Holderness, who is leading the Fair School Funding campaign, is expecting an announcement on a funding overhaul before Christmas as the Conservatives deliver on a key manifesto promise.

Leeds would see an extra £12.5m given to its schools a year, £11.8m would go to Sheffield pupils and and £10m each to East Riding and the rural communities of North Yorkshire through the schools block grant, calculated by a new formula promoted by Mr Stuart and the F40 group of poorly funded local authorities,

Mr Stuart, who chaired the influentional Education Selection Committe in the last Parliament, said it was time to rip up the current rule book on schools cash, which for too long has put Yorkshire at a disadvantage to London.

He said: “Pupils in Yorkshire deserve a fair deal and that’s why the Fair School Funding campaign is working so hard to persuade the Government to deliver a funding system based on actual pupil need rather than outdated political choices.

“At the moment, we have a more or less arbitrary system that is letting children down both in deprived urban authorities like Barnsley but also areas of hidden deprivation such as the East Yorkshire coastal towns in my constituency.

“David Cameron committed to resolve this problem in the Conservative election manifesto in May. I’m now working hard to ensure this promise is realised as quickly as possible, because every year that goes by only increases the pressure on Yorkshire schools.”

North Yorkshire County Council, York City Council, Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council are all local authorities in the F40 group, which receive the lowest allocations for primary and secondary pupils in the country. The schools block grant delivers £6,297 per pupil a year to some schools and just £4,208 per pupil to others through criteria largely unchanged since the 1970s

The group’s new formula inevitably has winners and losers, even for those in the F40 group, although it is considered fairer than the current system.

Barnsley would gain £13m a year, while Bradford would lose £16m, Rotherham would lose £5.4m, Kirklees £7.2m and Wakefield £2.8, which is one authority with low Key Stage 2 results.

A Parliamentary debate has been requested and petitions in favour of the change are due to go out to Yorkshire schools in the coming weeks.