Call for post-Covid rethink on school funding formula

'More support needed' for disadvantaged pupils to recover from Covid impact, say education researchers

Catherine Lough

Budget 2021: The school funding formula needs to be reviewed in light of the Covid crisis to help disadvantaged pupils, says the National Foundation for Educational Research

Today's Budget does not do enough to help pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to recover from the pandemic, an education research body has warned.

The National Foundation for Educational Research is calling for a rethink of the new school funding formula to help the situation.

Carole Willis, NFER chief executive, said the formula – designed to "level up" funding between schools – meant that those with the most disadvantaged pupils were receiving smaller increases in funding, and that this had been exacerbated by Covid-19.

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“We...welcome the recently announced school recovery funding package during a hugely challenging time for teachers, parents and pupils. This is a good start, but we believe more support will be needed to help all pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to recover," she said.

Budget 2021: Fears over support for disadvantaged pupils

“The government’s priority to level up school funding has meant the most disadvantaged schools are receiving the smallest increases in their budgets at a time when they face a disproportionate challenge in supporting pupils with their learning. We believe this policy should be re-evaluated in light of the pandemic’s impact.

“Covid-19 has placed significant financial pressures on schools, and led to substantial losses in income. Not all schools will be able to meet these pressures through existing reserves or recent funding increases.

"There is a risk some schools will need to divert resources, which could be used for teaching and recovery, or place additional pressures on their workforces to meet these needs.”

Analysis in 2020 revealed that school funding increases following the government’s "levelling up" deal would benefit pupils from more affluent backgrounds the most.


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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