Extra £350m for schools as DfE prepares funding shift

13 Mar 14
The schools budget is to increase by £350m from April 2015 under reforms that will introduce a new minimum funding level per pupil across England.

By Richard Johnstone | 13 March 2014

The schools budget is to increase by £350m from April 2015 under reforms that will introduce a new minimum funding level per pupil across England.

Schools minister David Laws announced today that ministers would take the first step towards introducing a single national funding formula for schools by introducing a new funding floor. This would make the system fairer, simpler and more transparent, he said.

Under the plans, which were published for consultation today, primary schools will receive a minimum of £2,845 per pupil, while in secondary school it will be set at two levels – £3,951 for Key Stage 3 pupils and £4,529 for Key Stage 4.

As many as 60 council areas that have suffered from lower allocations based on historical pupil data will benefit from the extra cash, Laws said.

‘For too long, the school funding system has been based on historical data that was out of date and no longer reflected pupils’ needs,’ he told MPs today. ‘Sometimes similar schools just miles apart can be funded at very different levels, just because they happen to be in different local authority areas.

‘This unfair and inefficient allocation of funding between pupils stops us from making sure that all children get the best possible teaching.’

Once these changes are introduced around 80% of school funding will now be based on need from April 2015, he said.

‘This will be the first time in a decade that funding has been allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending,’ Laws said.

However the government’s plan to introduce a single national funding formula for all schools has been delayed until it can form part of the multi-year spending review planned after the next election, he added.

‘But the case for action is so strong that we intend to act immediately to deliver a substantial £350m boost to schools in the least fairly funded local authorities in the country. We will be able to achieve this without any local authority receiving a cut to its per-pupil schools budget.

‘The extra money will be allocated in April 2015, for the 2015/16 financial year. No local authority or school will lose from this proposal, but around four in ten areas will gain.’

Additional funding allocations have also been set for deprived pupils, those with English as an additional language, and looked-after children. Costs such as the impact of rural sparsity will also be included in the minimum total.

Where there is a gap between a local authority’s budget and what it needs to meet our new minimum funding levels, the Department for Education will give the local authority additional funding to close the gap. Where a council’s education budget already exceeds what it needs to meet minimum funding levels, no additional funds will be received.


CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?