Unfair funding formula threatens Wolds schools, says RSN

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Rural Services Network claims children attending rural schools are ‘losing out’

The Rural Services Network has claimed that rural schools are losing out because an unfair funding formula has created inconsistencies in the amount of money received by similar schools depending on their location.

A national funding formula allocating the same funding for all mainstream pupils nationally would resolve the problem, said the RSN in response to a government consultation on the issue.

Without it, a child could attract very different levels of funding if he or she attended a school on one side of a local authority boundary rather than another, the RSN said.

RSN chief executive Graham Biggs MBE said: “Schools in low funded areas have inevitably had to prioritise meeting their core costs and have struggled to improve outcomes for vulnerable pupils as a consequence of the unfair funding formula.”

Mr Biggs added: “Fairer funding would enable schools to be judged fairly on the outcomes their pupils achieve.”

The RSN has commended the government for honouring its commitment to introduce fairer funding for all children in state schools in England – but warns that some poorly funding schools may still lose out.

The RSN said four key elements of the government proposals needed to be re-considered:-

The proportion of weighting given to additional needs rather than basic entitlement

The 3% funding floor, which ‘locks in’ historical differences

The amount invested in education funding and the cost pressures facing all schools.

The weakness of evidence used to support the proposals

Mr Biggs said: “The government’s proposals fall short of what was expected, will not deliver true fairness and, therefore, are in need of substantial revision.”

The government initially promised a new national funding formula for 2017-18 – but this was delayed and the implementation date for a new formula is now not expected until 2018-19.