Council questions schools funding decision

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EDUCATION bosses at one of the country’s worst funded authorities are asking why their schools have only been given an extra £500,000 in Government funding while other similar areas are receiving more than £10m.

The funding announcement made by Schools Minister David Laws was aimed at ending major imbalances between the amount of money going into schools in different parts of the country.

However East Riding Council has contacted the Department for Education to see if the extra amount its schools are being given is correct as the authority had been expecting more.

Conservative councillor, Julia Abraham, the authority’s portfolio holder for children and young people said: “We are asking the department about this. We have been the third-worst funded authority in the country and yet we are only getting £500,000 more overall while other similar authorities are getting millions.

“We have one of the smallest increases in the country while other areas like Leicestershire has £17.2m, South Gloucestershire has £8.6m and Devon has £16.2m.

“It is much less than we had expected and we are questioning the figures.”

The East Riding is part of the f40 group representing the worst funded authorities in the country. It has been campaigning for the creation of a new fairer funding formula. Members also include North Yorkshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council and Wakefield Council.

The f40 group welcomed Thursday’s announcement that £350m funding would be going into schools in the worst-funded authority areas. Around 60 local authority areas, mainly in rural areas, will receive more cash.

Mr Laws also said that no areas or schools would be losing funding as a result of the changes.

Under the plans for 2015/16, to allocate extra funding fairly, every local authority will attract a minimum funding level per pupil and school.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Our new minimum funding levels are the biggest step towards fairer school funding in a decade and East Riding is receiving an extra £500,000. Funding is allocated on the basis of pupil characteristics such as levels of deprivation, levels of attainment and the number of pupils in care so for the first time pupils with similar characteristics will receive similar levels of funding, regardless of where they are in the country.”

He said a consultation on the plans would be running until the end of April.