Greening vows school funding overhaul will be fairer

15 Sep 17

The government has announced details of its new funding system for schools aimed at eliminating the postcode lottery affecting the education sector.

Education secretary Justine Greening hailed yesterday’s announcement on the National Funding Formula (NFF), as the biggest improvement to the school funding system for decades but critics said it does not go far enough.

Under the plans, which come into force in April next year, schools in England will see the following:


  • An increase in the basic amount allocated for every pupil
  • A minimum per pupil funding level for both secondaries and primaries to target the lowest funded schools
  • A minimum cash increase for every school of 1% per pupil by 2019-20, with the most underfunded schools seeing rises of 3% per pupil in 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • A £110,000 lump sum for every school to help with fixed costs, and an additional £26m to rural and isolated schools to help them manage their unique challenges


This comes on top of a £1.3bn tranche announced for schools in July, which will be spread out over two years and is a one-off investment from within the existing education budget.

The government said the core funding for schools and high needs will rise from £41bn in 2017-18 to £42.4bn in 2018-19. In 2019-20 it will rise again to £43.5bn.

Greening said: “It [the NFF] will replace the outdated funding system which saw our children have very different amounts invested in their education purely because of where they were growing up.

“That was unacceptable and we have now made school funding fairer between schools for the first time in decades.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the commitment to a new funding formula but warned that it was not enough to reverse real-terms cuts being felt by schools.

He said: “Setting minimum funding levels for schools is also a welcome move, but we need to examine whether the levels announced today by the secretary of state are sufficient.

“We fear they are still way too low to allow schools to deliver the quality of education they want to provide and which pupils need. The fundamental problem is there is not enough funding going into education.” 

The ASCL cited Institute for Fiscal Studies research that suggests increasing costs, more pupils and inflation mean between 2015 and 2019 schools are facing a real-terms cut from 6.5% to 4.6% which would need an extra £2bn a year to plug.

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