Saturday, 19 March 2016

Fairer Funding progress for our schools - ending the system where Northumberland gets less than the funding for urban schools

Fairer Funding, an initiative pioneered by this government, received a firm forward push, in this week’s Budget. I, and others, have pushed for this to happening sooner rather than later and I am delighted that the Chancellor has  agreed to bring this forward.
George Osborne set out the government’s acceleration of fairer funding, with the first National Funding Formula for schools to be in place from 2017-18. The funding ramp-up aims to have 90 per cent of schools, which are due additional funding under the National Funding Formula, to receive the full amount they are due by 2020.

The government will also provide around £500 million of additional core funding to schools over the course of this Spending Review, to speed up the process. This is on top of the commitment to maintain per pupil funding in cash terms. A fairer deal for schools is getting a real shot-in-the-arm.

There was also more excellent news for schools in Tynedale, and the wider North East, as the Chancellor pledged a further £20 million a year of new funding for a new Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy.

This new funding will ensure rapid action is taken to push up educational progress in the North. The investment will support “proven leaders and outstanding schools”, in a mentoring scheme that will see our best schools helping to bring up neighbouring ones that are not doing so well.  It will also pay for the best schools to fast-track to become teaching schools, and the best heads to be national leaders of education.

The Budget also saw a government that is committed to ensuring that all school pupils achieve a good standard of core skills. The government will commission Sir Adrian Smith to review the case for “more or all” students, to continue to study maths at 18 in the longer term. Maths is a vital core subject, fundamental to everyday life, and the modern economy. Surely, it makes sense to ensure that all pupils leave school with Maths as part of a solid educational foundation.