Rallying call to join unequal funding fight

PRIMARY head Chris Wood would get almost pound;400 more to spend on every child at his Leicestershire school were it a quarter of a mile up the hill.

That is how far it is to the city boundary, where funding is pound;2,850 per pupil compared to pound;2,400 in the county.

Next week the head of Glen Hills primary will highlight the inequalities of funding between city and county schools at the National Association of Head Teachers' annual conference in Torquay. Equal opportunities must mean equal funding for all children, he will say.

Nearly half of the 400 pupils at his school on the south-west border of Leicester come from a city council estate. Many of them have special needs. He estimates the difference in funding between county and city leaves him some pound;80,000 a year worse off. Leicester city schools also get cash from initiatives such as Excellence in Cities and action zones.

Mr Wood does not under-estimate the problems facing city schools, nor begrudge them extra funding - but says more is needed for city children at his school. He believes the solution is a national funding formula, or money following city children across borders. "It's wrong this funding should be so iniquitously different between city and county," he added.

A Leicester City spokeswoman said it was difficult to compare per-pupil funding because different authorities delegated different amounts to their schools.

Central government funding is allocated according to the number of pupils attending a school, not where the pupils travel from, she added.

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