Cheltenham’s Lib Dem parliamentary candidate and former MP Martin Horwood has condemned as a ‘hoax’ the government’s planned National Funding Formula (‘NFF’) which was supposed to deliver ‘Fair Funding’ for local schools and correct the historic underfunding of counties like Gloucestershire but is actually going to mean two Cheltenham secondary schools LOSING £161,000 a year between them and gives only a fractional increase in funding to a third.
The figures buried deep in a Department of Education spreadsheet reveal the following changes from the planned ‘NFF’ for Cheltenham schools. The first year of the NFF limits losses to 1.5% in Year 1 but the table below shows the hit schools will take if the NFF is later implemented in full:
|Baseline funding 2016/17||Funding under NFF||Loss/gain||% change||Protected Yr1 funding under NFF||Loss/gain||% change|
Source:Department for Education (http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/schoolsnet/article/122078/DfE-Announcements-on-a-national-funding-formula-for-schools, spreadsheet at https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/supporting_documents/Impact%20of%20the%20proposed%20schools%20NFF_20161220.xlsm)
So Pate’s stands to lose at least £39,000 in Year 1 and then £61,00 a year if this formula is implemented in full. Balcarras stands to lose £65,000 in Year 1 and then £100,00 each year if the formula is then implemented in full. Bournside gains only a fractional 0.2% increase under the formula.
Martin said: “We fought a cross-party ‘Fair Funding’ campaign for years to correct the historic underfunding of Gloucestershire schools. If the government presents this as the answer to that long campaign, then this is a complete hoax. Two out of our five secondary schools are going to lose out even more – over a hundred thousand pounds a year between them even in the protected first year. Our biggest school Bournside gets only a derisory 0.2% increase. This doesn’t only do nothing to correct the longstanding unfairness in school funding for Gloucestershire, it’s actually going to make things worse for thousands of Cheltenham students.
Worse still, the deficits I warned about in the election campaign if Tory spending plans went ahead are still on the cards and this will do nothing to stop them. Within two years, schools across Cheltenham are either going to be plunging into deficit like our NHS trusts or cutting back on classes and facilities. The speed with which this Conservative government is unravelling the good financial mnanagement of the coalition years is breathtaking.”