Lib Dems call for Education Secretary to rethink school funding

February 24, 2017 5:30 PM

School Traffic Sign1Leader of the Liberal Democrat County Group on Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr. Paul Hodgkinson and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Cotswold District Council, Cllr. Joe Harris have today sent a joint open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP.

The letter asks the Education Secretary to listen to the concerns of head teachers across Gloucestershire and revise the proposals for a national funding formula for schools that will see nearly ten thousand schools nationally lose out.

Cllr. Hodgkinson (Bourton & Northleach), who represents an area where school funding will significantly drop, said that:

"The issue of school funding has been a real problem for many years in Gloucestershire. Historically the county has been one of the worst funded authorities. Local residents, campaigners and elected representatives have for decades campaigned for better funding for the county including the f40 lobby group. We are looking for a fair deal for ALL schools in our county.

"The proposed national funding formula will have a huge negative impact on many schools in Gloucestershire with over a hundred schools facing a total funding reduction of nearly £1million. The Secretary for Education in December said that reforms would mean and I quote "an end to historical unfairness and under-funding for certain schools", but this system is by no means fair."

The letter continued by saying that:

"The view of the 'f40' lobby group is that the 'government has fallen short on its fair funding promise' and your [Justine Greening MP] proposals for delivering fair funding for schools need substantial revision. Similarly to f40, we are also finding it hard to comprehend how such an unfair funding formula can be implemented without considerable alteration."

Cllr. Harris (Cirencester Park) is saddened with the plans to introduce an unfair funding formula for schools and added:

"It is bitterly disappointing to see tens of thousands of pounds being reduced from schools in the Cotswolds and nearly a million pounds across the county.

"These funding proposals are simply unfair and do not take into account the huge pressures facing all schools.

"It is utterly shameful that this Government has come up with a 'rob Peter to pay Paul' funding system for our schools. We have directly asked the Secretary for Education in our letter whether she can tell us how such a funding formula can possibly be seen as even reasonable let alone fair?

"It is only right that these proposals are revised."