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Government overhauls school funding system to promote fairness

18/09/2017 Kelly

Regional discrepancies in the availability of school funding are to be addressed by a new approach to school funding unveiled by the government.

The Department for Education has introduced its new National Funding Formula (NFF), a new system designed to ensure that funding is based on the individual needs and characteristics of each school. The aim is to end the "postcode lottery" that has resulted in similar schools in different parts of the country receiving varying levels of funding.

Under the new system, schools will receive an increase in the basic amount allocated for every pupil, with a minimum among allocated per pupil funding level for both secondary and primary schools, ensuring that the lowest-funded establishments receive more support.

Additionally, every school will receive a minimum cash increase of one per cent per pupil by 2019-20, with the most underfunded schools seeing rises of three per cent per pupil in 2018-19 and 2019-20. All schools will also receive a £110,000 lump sum to help with fixed costs, plus a £26 million pot to address the unique challenges faced by rural and isolated schools.

Core funding for schools and pupils with high needs will rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion in 2018-19 and £43.5 billion in 2019-20.

The publication of the final NFF plans follow two major consultations, which generated more than 26,000 responses from education sector stakeholders.

Education secretary Justine Greening said the new approach "will replace the outdated funding system which saw our children have very different amounts invested in their education purely because of where they were growing up".

She added: "That was unacceptable, and we have now made school funding fairer between schools for the first time in decades."

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