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NAHT URGES REFORM OF CURRENT SYSTEM OF FUNDING EDUCATION

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The NAHT has written to education secretary David Blunkett supporting his efforts to obtain substantial extra funds...
The NAHT has written to education secretary David Blunkett supporting his efforts to obtain substantial extra funds for schools through the forthcoming comprehensive spending review. But it also urges the government to undertake a reform of the current funding system so that the present vast funding disparities within that system are not simply perpetuated by the outcome of that review. A copy of the letter to David Blunkett is attached.

The aggregated schools budget figures in paragraph 3 show that schools in the lowest funding authorities would receive a great deal more money if they received the same per pupil funding as those in the highest funding authorities.

For instance an average primary school of 200 pupils would receive:

£95,000 more in Greenwich(Inner London)

£100,000 more in Bexley(Outer London)

£50,000 more in Wolverhampton (West Midlands)

£24,000 more in St Helens(Merseyside)

£40,000 more in Trafford(Greater Manchester)

£65,000 more in Barnsley(Yorkshire)

£18,000 more in South Tyneside (North East)

£200,000 more in Derby City(Unitary Authorities)

£73,000 more in Derbyshire(County Councils)

In the case of secondary schools, taking an average secondary school of 1000 pupils:

Schools in Wandsworth would each receive£720,000 more(Inner London)

Schools in Bromley would each receive£429,000 more(Outer London)

Schools in Solihull would each receive£190,000 more (West Midlands)

Schools in Wirral would each receive£227,000 more(Merseyside)

Schools in Tameside would each receive£356,000 more(Greater Manchester)

Schools in Bradford would each receive£437,000 more(Yorkshire)

Schools in South Tyneside would each receive£149,000 more(North East)

Schools in Stoke-on-Trent would each receive£415,000 more(Unitary Authorities)

Schools in Northumberland would each receive£439,000 more(County Councils)

David Hart, general secretary NAHT comments:

'The current system of funding education is a complete and utter lottery. It produces vast disparities in funding which bear absolutely no relation to the cost of delivering the curriculum in schools across the country. We know that David Blunkett has been making a powerful case for substantial additional resources for the next three years via the comprehensive spending review. These are urgently needed if schools are going to meet the standards challenge laid down by the government between now and the next election. But a reform of the system by which funds reach school budgets is also urgent. Heads know that the current funding mechanism is grossly unfair. They want to see David Blunkett's efforts rewarded through the comprehensive spending review, but they would also want to see the current ludicrously wide disparities removed and not perpetuated.

Dear David

COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING REVIEW

As you will know, heads are expecting the Comprehensive Spending Review to deliver very real additional resources which will provide substantial extra funds for schools over the next three financial years. This would underpin the Prime Minister's promise to provide pressure and support for schools in equal measure.

However, it is essential that the additional funding finds its way into school budgets and that it is not 'syphoned off' by local authorities on the way. Furthermore, the additional funding should be accompanied by reform of the current system of allocation, so that the present vast funding disparities within the education system are not perpetuated.

The following facts are indicative of the problems schools face:-

1. Only£539 million, of the increase of£835 million in central government education expenditure for England, reached school budgets in 1998/99. In other words, 35% of the increase was kept back by local authorities.

2. Nine local authorities (Cheshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) have calculated that their current funding falls short of their schools' real basic needs by a combined total of£300 million. This curriculum led funding model, which could be replicated throughout the country and bring much needed fairness into the funding system, demonstrates the extent of the additional resource required by the entire schools system.

3. The Aggregated Schools Budget per pupil figures for 1997/98 show enormous disparities, eg:

PRIMARYSECONDARY

HighestLowestHighestLowest

Inner LondonInner London

Kensington& Chelsea£2384Greenwich£1909Kensington & Chelsea£3241Wandsworth£2521

Outer LondonOuter London

Brent£1906Bexley£1408Harrow£2625Bromley£2196

West MidlandsWest Midlands

Birmingham£1716Wolverhampton£1464Birmingham£2313Solihull£2123

MerseysideMerseyside

Knowsley£1570St Helens£1452Sefton£2251Wirral£2024

Greater ManchesterGreater Manchester

Salford£1484Trafford£1284Wigan£2231Tameside£1875

Yorkshire Yorkshire

Leeds£1615Barnsley£1288Doncaster£2189Bradford£1752

North EastNorth East

Sunderland£1525S.Tyneside£1436Newcastle£2112S.Tyneside£1963

Unitary LEAsUnitary LEAs

S.Gloucs£2239Derby City£1236Bristol£2399Stoke-on-Trent£1984

CountiesCounties

Surrey£1642Derbyshire£1275Norfolk£2302Northumberland£1863

I appreciate that you are concentrating on obtaining an overall settlement which meets the needs of the education service. NAHT supports your efforts. But there are very real distribution problems within the system that must also be addressed. I would urge that attention be paid to those in time for the 1999/2000 financial year.'

Yours sincerely

GENERAL SECRETARY

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