The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner has welcomed proposals for a new funding formula which will apply to both Isle of Wight and mainland schools.
The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, launched the second stage of the consultation for a national funding formula for schools in a statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday. The Government believes that all schools should be funded fairly and the new national funding formula now under consultation aims at addressing the unfairness in the current, outdated system. The vast majority of funding will be distributed directly to schools.
The proposal includes a nationally consistent base rate for every pupil, which steadily increases in value as they progress through the system between primary and secondary schools. It is intended to protect resources aimed at pupils who come from disadvantaged families, and provides a sparsity factor to protect small, rural schools. In addition to this, £2.4 bn will be directed at pupils with low attainment to ensure that they catch up with their peers.
Mr Turner has this week said:
“This is the second consultation on the formula which runs for fourteen weeks. I would urge heads, governors and others who are interested in education to bring forward their experience and put their views to the Government. I will of course be looking at the details of these proposals with local officers and councillors.”
Miss Greening said:
“Our school funding system as it exists today is unfair, opaque and outdated. The reality is that patchy and inconsistent decisions on funding have built up over many years, based on data that are sometimes a decade or more out of date. What has been created over time is a funding system that allows similar schools with similar students to receive levels of funding so different that they put some young people at an educational disadvantage.”
Mr Turner added:
“I welcome this second stage of the consultation for a fair funding formula. We now have the opportunity to scrutinise, and respond to, any local effects the new funding formula might have. Urban schools have been funded more advantageously than rural schools for too long. The new formula will mean that children across England with similar needs will attract similar levels of funding.”
Cllr Chris Whitehouse, who leads on Education for the Conservatives on the Isle of Wight Council added:
“This could be good news for many Island schools. Several of the criteria for increased funding apply to many of our local schools: our primaries are often very small, serving a large geographical area, and we have some pupils with very high needs. I will be studying the details of the Government’s proposed changes carefully and working with Island MP, Andrew Turner, to respond in detail to the current consultation so that we can maximize the benefit for the Island. Conservatives are working hard to get the best resources to continue our drive to improve education outcomes for every pupil regardless of their needs and ability.”
The Government’s intention is to introduce the national funding formula for the 2018/19 school year, which will be a transitional year. The consultation will be open for 14 weeks and will close on 22nd March.