Funding shake-up may hit schools

By Carl Jackson Friday 19 October 2012 Updated: 26/10 11:18

SCHOOLS across Droitwich could see thousands of pounds slashed from their annual budgets after a shake-up of Government funding.

Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet yesterday (Thursday) approved a new way of allocating school funding, which would see just 12 factors taken into consideration, rather than 40, as there is at present.

A number of schools will lose a total of £60,025 in the coming year after a Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) limited any losses to 1.5 per cent per pupil for 2013’s budget starting in April.

And if the Government does not commit to a new fairer funding formula by 2015, the losses suffered by those schools could be in excess of £250,000.

With a general election in the same year, any change of Government could delay those plans, leaving Worcestershire schools at the mercy of the funding changes.

Six of the town’s 11 schools stand to lose out both in 2013 and potentially in 2015 according to projections seen by The Standard which are based on last year’s enrollment figures.

One first school could lose as much as £15,000 next April alone and a staggering £70,238 by 2015 should a new funding formula not be agreed.

But despite the cutbacks, funding overall for Droitwich’s schools will increase by a net £46,275 in 2013 with some schools seeing their funding increase.

And while some schools could be plunged into uncertainty in 2015, funding for the town’s schools overall by in excess of £300,000.

Jane Potter, the county council’s cabinet member with responsibility for education and skills, admitted the new criteria were unwelcome, inflexible and created massive swings with winners and losers.

Fellow cabinet member Liz Eyre added there were ‘two more pieces to the jigsaw’ because the council was yet to learn how extra funds for disadvantaged pupils and higher needs would be allocated.

Worcestershire County Council leader Adrian Hardman conceded the model was ‘volatile’ in its true form, but vowed to review the issue next year.

“It’s possible that finance staff have missed the golden model.

“We will have considerable reflection on this to improve the formula for the next year. There is still a lot to go on this.”

Coun Hardman said he also emphasised that the main priority was to achieve more funding for all of Worcestershire’s

schools as, currently, the authority was 147th out of 151 in the school funding league table.

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