Council makes plea for better funding deal for Cambridgeshire schools

Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire County Council is calling on the government to give schools a fairer deal on education spending, ahead of further consultation on a national funding formula this month.

The county council says that the current funding formula, which dates back to 2005, has led to schools in the county being underfunded, with a gap of 47 per cent between the average per pupil funding received by Cambridgeshire schools and those in central London.

This equates to a £2,000 gap per pupil, per year given by government to spend on Cambridgeshire children compared to some other areas of the country.

Councillor Steve Count, the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are joining with county councils across the UK to ask our MPs to take a message to the government to make some changes to their funding formula plans.

“We support the County Councils Network in asking for removal of the cap on gains during the transition period and also a sufficient rate of lump sum payment so that small rural schools receive adequate funding to remain viable without the need for a sparsity factor.”

According to the county council, Cambridgeshire is currently ranked 120th out of 151 local authorities in terms of money received per pupil via the dedicated schools grant.

Speaking to The Hunts Post, Andrew Goulding, the head teacher of Hinchingbrooke School, said it had been tough to balance the books and added his voice to calls for the government to address the issue of under funding in the county.

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He said: “All schools like us are struggling financially; the government needs to put more money into schools and education.”

Mr Goulding said that government decisions to increase levies had also put a strain on the finances of schools.

He added: “Every time the government makes a decision about teachers’ pay rises, national insurance contributions and the apprenticeship levy it costs money for schools like Hinchingbrooke and they [the government] don’t fund them - it just makes a bigger headache for us.

“I am not saying they are bad things but the problem is that the government has made these decisions and the public sector is not in a position to increase our profits or margins to cover them.”