Wirral Schools Funding - Is this Fair, Reasonable or Equitable?
The Department for Education is rolling out a National Funding Formula, where each 11-16 student in a secondary school receives a minimum of £4,800 per year to fund his or her education. This excludes the additional money provided for disadvantaged students through Pupil Premium (Approximately £1,000 per student). Local authorities are required to be transitioning towards this minimum funding level. Many local authorities have already completed this transition.
Currently, funding levels on Wirral mean that the six grammar schools are the lowest funded schools. For example, Calday Grange Grammar School (the lowest funded secondary school) is in receipt of £4,600 per student whilst the top funded school in the borough receives £6,900 per student (this is before schools receive additional income from Pupil Premium). All of the grammar schools recognise and accept that schools with high levels of deprivation require additional funding.
We have sought to work within this already difficult funding environment. Our response to shrinking educational budgets has included, but is not limited to:
- Increasing class sizes.
- Reducing or removing additional services such as Learning Mentors and school counsellors.
- Reducing the numbers of teachers.
- Reducing Senior/Middle management posts.
- Reducing opportunities for extracurricular activities.
‘These steps have ensured that the six grammar schools are the most financially efficient in the borough’ (against the criteria of cost per student vs educational outcomes measured against progress 8).
The grammar schools are simply asking for the minimum funding level identified by the Department for Education of £4,800 per student.
However, Schools Forum (the body that determines how school funding is apportioned) has recently recommended a funding model that will see:
- an additional £1.1M provided to 11 non-selective secondary schools
- whilst removing £460,000 of funding from the six grammar schools
- and removing £660,000 from the primary sector and leaving 48 primary schools worse off
(comparing the recommendation from Schools Forum to the National Funding Formula)
This will move the funding for Wirral schools further away from Department for Education’s National Funding Formula and place unacceptable financial pressures on the schools concerned.
‘Wirral is failing to provide sufficient funds for the education of children who attend Wirral grammar schools. These schools provide education for 30% of the total 11-16 student population on the Wirral.’
‘Wirral is also failing to allocate sufficient funding to the primary sector and 48 primary schools
will be worse off with this decision’
Please click here to access a copy of the letter sent to all parents of children at the school.