22 March 2007

Fighting for fair funding for schools

One of the education committees that I am on is looking at the funding of deprivation in schools in Kingston upon Thames, an issue I have been very interested in for several years because I have been convinced that our most needy children are not getting the funding that they deserve. Now I have proof.

This chart shows (blue line) the relative deprivation on our schools based on the eligibility of pupils for Free School Meals (FSM) and (purple line) the funding they get to meet that need. In both cases the graphs are scaled so that the most needy is school is 100%.

What this shows very clearly is that almost every school gets proportionally more funding for deprivation than the most needy school. Only one school is funded below the line of actual need (they get 65% of what they should) but most are significantly above, typically getting four times more funding than need. One school gets nine times.

The graph is simple but I never underestimate people's inability to understand simple arguments when they don't like the result so I will believe in fair funding when we finally get it. The government, via the DfES, is starting to kick councils like Kingston upon Thames for not funding deprivation properly, and is currently consulting on the subject, so there is some home that even this backwater may be spurred into action one day. Our children need this to happen.

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