Government cash promise for schools

More cash would be made available for pupils at 119 schools across North Yorkshire under a proposal to boost education funding, analysis suggests.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 1:07 pm

Boris Johnson pledged to “level up” spending for young learners in his first speech as Prime Minister in July.

The policy would see the minimum per pupil funding rise from £3,500 to £4,000 in primary schools, and from £4,800 to £5,000 for secondary students.

But education experts and teaching unions say the promise falls far short of the amount needed to tackle a funding crisis, and would favour the least disadvantaged schools.

Analysis of school funding data by the House of Commons Library shows that, of 305 primary schools in North Yorkshire, 100 currently receive less than £4,000 for each child.

Each student at these schools gets £3,744 on average, meaning they would receive a boost of £256.

The analysis also suggests that 19 of 42 secondaries in North Yorkshire do not currently get £5,000 per pupil, instead seeing an average funding of £4,869 – they would see an increase of £131.

The type of funding on which the analysis is based – the National Funding Formula – is partly calculated using the number of pupils at a school.

Councils, which receive the cash, are not currently required to pass these minimum amounts on to schools, so they could actually get less.

The House of Commons Library used pupil numbers from the previous year, so the figures could be subject to change.

Schools considered “new and growing” by the Department for Education are excluded, as are those for which funding data was not available.

Across England, about 6,700 of 16,500 primary schools get less than the amount proposed, while around 1,100 of 3,100 secondaries stand to benefit.

Jon Andrews, deputy head of research at the Education Policy Institute, said the Prime Minister’s drive to even up cash for schools implies that funding should be equal, despite the fact that children’s circumstances and opportunities differ.

He added: “Any attempt to crudely level up funding would disproportionately direct additional funding towards the least disadvantaged schools with the least challenging intakes, at a time when progress in closing the attainment gap has stalled and may be about to go into reverse.”

Andrew Morris, assistant general secretary of the National Education Union, said the pledge falls £8bn short of what is required, with 91% of schools having lost funding since 2015.

He added: “This analysis shows that (the Prime Minister’s) pledge would give more than half of schools no extra money at all.

“He has also ignored special educational needs, early years and post-16 education and all the extra costs such as pensions contributions that his Government is heaping onto schools.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has made clear that we will increase minimum levels of per pupil funding in primary and secondary schools and return education funding to previous levels.

“We will be announcing more details in due course and, until then, any assumptions are purely speculative.”

These are the primaries which stand to benefit from the Prime Minister’s pledge: Aspin Park Academy: (£3,500); Oatlands Community Junior School: (£3,500); Pannal Primary School: (£3,500); Rossett Acre Primary School: (£3,500); Western Primary School: (£3,500); St Peter’s Church Of England Primary School: (£3,538); Oatlands Infant School: (£3,539); Glusburn Community Primary School: (£3,563); Brayton Church Of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School: (£3,567); Tadcaster, Riverside Community Primary School: (£3,577); Sowerby Community Primary School: (£3,579); Richard Taylor Church Of England Primary School: (£3,580); Hutton Rudby Primary School: (£3,588); Bedale Church Of England Primary School: (£3,589); Harrogate, Bilton Grange Community Primary School: (£3,597).

And these are the secondary schools: Harrogate Grammar School: (£4,800); Richmond School: (£4,800); Rossett School: (£4,800); South Craven School: (£4,800); St Aidan’s Church Of England High School: (£4,800); Stokesley School: (£4,800); St John Fisher Catholic High School: (£4,820); St Francis Xavier School: (£4,841); Ermysted’s Grammar School: (£4,895); Ryedale School: (£4,901); Norton College: (£4,909); Tadcaster Grammar School: (£4,909); King James’s School: (£4,942); Sherburn High School: (£4,945); Thirsk School & Sixth Form College: (£4,946).

Some schools in nearby local authority areas may appear in the data for North Yorkshire due to recent boundary changes.