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Funding formula 'will force ministers to put loads more money into schools'

'More money is going to come' for schools, says Mark Lehain, director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence

Mark Lehain says battle for more school funding has been won

Ministers will need to put "loads more money" into the school system to be able to deliver the new national funding formula, a campaigner has claimed.

Mark Lehain, director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a campaign group aiming to raise standards in state schools through the promotion of a “knowledge-rich curriculum”, told the Northern Lights conference that the creation of a new funding system would have to mean an overall increase in cash for schools. 

And he said that less well-funded areas of the North of England would benefit as a result of this.

The national funding formula is aimed at tackling wide variations in per-pupil funding rates across the country.

Speaking at the event in Carlisle, Mr Lehain said: "Politically, no government will get [the national funding formula] through without putting loads more money into the system.

"As we move to a national funding formula, some people will lose out in places likes London and some of the well-funded urban areas, not in the North. But the government is going to have to put a lot more money into schools whether they think it's necessary or not.

The fight for more schools funding

"That battle has been won by the profession. More money is going to come, the question is how much and how it is shared out through the national funding formula. But, regardless, the North will disproportionately benefit.”

Mr Lehain outlined the new formula as one of the reasons to feel positive about education in the North.

He added: "The national funding formula – if we can get ever get there, and that is a big if – will make a huge difference in parts of the country which have been underfunded."

Mr Lehain’s comments come amid a long-running battle for more schools funding.

Last weekend the Association of School and College Leaders warned that schools were £5.7billin short of what they needed.

ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton warned of job cuts and reductions in SEND provision without more money for 2019-20.

And Labour MP Jess Phillips has also organised a protest getting pupils to sing outside Downing Street to highlight that schools are closing on Friday afternoons to cut costs.

Education secretary Damian Hinds has said that he has heard the message on school funding loud and clear and promised to make a strong case for more funding for schools in the spending review.

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