ASCL comment on school funding consultation

08/07/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the school funding consultation published by the Department for Education.
 
Commenting on the school funding consultation published by the Department for Education today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“This consultation is about how funding is distributed to schools in England. While we support the direction of travel, our bigger concern is that there is not enough money being put into the system in the first place. The cake is too small, no matter how it is sliced. We recognise that the government is currently investing more money in schools but we do not think this is enough to repair the damage done by years of underfunding and we are concerned that much of the new money will be simply eaten up by rising costs. This is even more critical because of the havoc wreaked by the pandemic and the pressing need for significant investment in education recovery.

“On the detail of this consultation, the government has rightly addressed the postcode lottery which has existed in the funding system for many years with the introduction of a National Funding Formula. However, local authorities can still adjust allocations to schools and this means that similar schools can receive different funding depending on where they are in the country. This next move could remove local authority flexibilities and make allocations more consistent. 

“There is a massive risk of creating winners and losers and the government is right to set out in this consultation a cautious and phased approach to this adjustment. However, as long as the overall amount of funding continues to be inadequate, schools will remain short of the money needed to educate children
.”