Schools across Yorkshire look set to enjoy a £100m funding boost, as the Government unveils plans for one of the biggest shake-ups of schools funding for decades.
The long-awaited reforms follow years of campaigning by local MPs and councillors, and will see the formula for allocations rewritten to end to an “historical postcode lottery”.
Presenting the plans to Parliament today, Education Secretary Justine Greening condemned the current funding system as “unfair”, “opaque” and “outdated”.
She claimed the proposed new formula will help “level the playing field”, and increase the budgets of more than 10,000 schools across the country.
“Our funding system is broken and unfair, and we cannot allow that to continue,” Ms Greening told MPs. “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.
“The system... now needs to be reformed, to tackle the historical postcode lottery.
“[Our] proposals mean that all schools and local areas receive a consistent and fair share of the schools budget, so that they can have the best possible chance to give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
The Government first announced a review of the current funding formula in 2015, in response to lobbying by MPs and members of the campaign group f40. The organisation expressed concerns about “inconsistencies” with the system which mean schools in some areas receive up to £2,000 more per pupil than in other parts of the country.
Some rural MPs have also argued that the existing formula is biased in favour of urban areas. However, the Department for Education has revealed that the new proposals will include a “sparsity” factor, to help “protect small, rural schools”.
According to the DfE’s forecasts, these changes will result in an additional £96.87m of funding for schools in Yorkshire each year.
The biggest beneficiaries include Barnsley, which will see a 7.7 per cent increase in its budget, Sheffield, which will receive a 5.9 per cent boost, and York, which will receive an additional 4.4 per cent.
Responding to the figures, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, who has campaigned on the issue for 11 years, said it will make a “significant difference”.
He told the Yorkshire Post:“Its been a long hard slog, but today we have an announcement, and the Government is committed to creating a fairer system.”
The proposals will now be put to a consultation, with a final decision expected in the summer. If the new formula is accepted, there will be a transitional year in 2017/18, before full implementation in 2018/19.
The plans have come under heavy criticism from Labour, who claim two million pupils will be affected by cuts in other areas.