16 May 2008

More on schools' funding

I thought that the big debates on schools' funding had gone as we have just entered a three-year funding cycle where the only changes that we can make are those that we have already said we will make, but I was wrong.

The latest meeting of Kingston Schools' Forum was asked by Kingston Council to establish a working party to look at issues raised by some schools following this year's settlement. In the Primary Sector, some schools have queried the variation in funding received by schools when measured on a per pupil basis.

On first sight you can see why this question has been asked as some schools do receive significantly more funding per pupil than others but the funding is calculated from a not very difficult formula that everybody was consulted on and which was approved with no serious dissent - not even from me! So the funding is right if you look at the details but can seem wrong if you take a simplistic overview.

I suggested that the purpose of the working party should be to explain to the schools why the funding is right (i.e. to explain [yet again] how the formula works) rather than to review a formula that we have just spent a year of detailed work on.

I'm not sure that this distinction was understood so I gave myself the opportunity of making sure that the message was not lost on the working party by volunteering to be on it.

I resent that it is necessary to spend so much time fighting for fair funding but the alternative is not to fight and to let the string schools take the money from the weaker schools that need it more.

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