New school funding formula delayed until 2018

Education secretary Justine Greening will publish details of the new formula this autumn

Kaye Wiggins

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The introduction of a new school funding formula will be delayed until 2018-19, education secretary Justine Greening has announced.

In a statement published this morning, Ms Greening said the government would publish details of the new formula this autumn.

The Department for Education had previously said the new formula, which will change the way the national schools budget is distributed across the country, would be in place by 2017-18.

“This is an important reform, which will fairly and transparently allocate funding on the basis of schools’ and children’s actual needs, rather than simply on historic levels of funding tied to out-of-date local information,” Ms Greening’s statement said.

“Given the importance of consulting widely and fully with the sector and getting implementation right, the new system will apply from 2018-19.”

No local authorities would lose funds from their schools budget, known as the “dedicated schools grant”, in 2017-18, she said.

She said: “I will publish the government’s full response to the first stage of the schools and high-needs consultations and set out my proposals for the second stage once Parliament returns in the autumn.

“We will run a full consultation, and make final decisions early in the new year.”

Ms Greening said the first phase of a government consultation on its plans to overhaul the funding formula had “been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from headteachers, teachers, governors and parents.”

In her statement, the edcuation secretary also announced:

  • Local authorities’ “schools block” funding, the money that they passport to schools, would be protected in per-pupil terms in 2017-18
  • Local authorities’ “high needs block” funding, which funds support for SEN pupils and others with additional needs, would be protected in cash terms in 2017-18
  • Councils’ final allocations for both of these funding pots would be published in December, and would be based on pupil numbers recorded in the October census
  • The current “minimum funding guarantee”, which ensures no school’s funding can fall by more than 1.5 per cent per year, would remain in place in 2017-18
  • A controversial proposal to allow local flexibility on the value of this minimum funding guarantee would not be introduced in 2017-18

News of the delay will be welcomed by schools in inner London, who are expected to lose funding once the new system is in place. But heads have previously warned that low-funded schools outside of the capital are facing serious funding shortfalls and could “go to the wall” without extra cash in 2017-18.

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Kaye Wiggins

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