Funding: why it couldn't be you;News;News and opinion

26th November 1999 at 00:00
Forget dreams of Camelot, your school is engaged in a real lottery for cash. A new survey reveals some pupils

benefit by more than pound;1,000.

Clare Dean reports.

HUGE variations in the amount of money spent on pupils under the new Fair Funding arrangments in different parts of the country are revealed for the first time this week, showing some mainstream schools being more than pound;1,000 per child better off.

Analysis of the budget plans of all but 15 out of the 150 English local education authorities exposes the funding lottery in schools.

Commissioned by the National Association of Head Teachers, the analysis unearths differences in delegation of almost pound;21,000 per special school pupil in the worst case.

And it has led to renewed calls from the union for a national funding formula for schools.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "A national curriculum, national pay scales, a national special education needs code of practice, national league tables and a national inspection system cry out for a national entitlement.

"There is no earthly reason why a key stage 1 pupil in Cambridgeshire should be funded so differently from one in Lincolnshire.

"Why should a key stage 4 pupil in Barnsley be valued quite differently from one in Wigan? All pupils should have their needs recognised fairly."

The analysis, conducted by education consultant and former grant-maintained school head- teacher George Phipson, is based on detailed breakdowns of budgets that councils are now required to provide.

This is the first year they have been published in this form and they will confirm the gut feelings of headteachers throughout the country of staggering funding inequalities.

The analysis shows differences of more than pound;1,000 per pupil in both primary and secondary schools in the best and worst case.

Variations in delegation per special school pupil are even more dramatic with differences ranging up to almost pound;21,000 per pupil.

The average delegated to schools nationally per primary pupil is pound;1,741 while the figure for secondary pupils is pound;2,422 and pound;9,026 per special school pupil.

The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea delegates the largest sums for primary, secondary and special school pupils.

Languishing at the bottom of the spending tables were Derby City for its primary spending, Bradford for its secondary funding and Newcastle for the amount it spends on pupils with special educational needs.

The Government has now decreed that from next April, every council must delegate 80 per cent of its local schools budget to governing bodies.

According to the NAHT research, 56 authorities have yet to hit the mark. The worst eight, each more than 5 per cent below the 80 per cent target , were Westminster (71.7), Haringey (73.1), Manchester (73.4), Hackney (73.6), Southwark (73.8), Kensington and Chelsea (74) Cambridgeshire (74.4) and Newham (74.6).

Eight authorities are at least 5 per cent below target. They are Westminister which delegates 71.7 per cent, Haringey (73.1), Manchester (73.4), Hackney (73.6), Southwark (73.8), Kensington and Chelsea (74) and Cambridgeshire (74.4)

The 10 highest delegators are Southend-on-Sea (87.5 per cent), Northamptonshire (86.2), Hillingdon (86.1), Havering (86), Ports-

mouth (85.7), Barnet (85), Brent (85), Nottinghamshire (85), Slough (84.5) and Hampshire (84.4).


Delegated funding per

primary pupil

National average: pound;1,741

The richest:

Kensington and Chelsea pound;2,582

Lambeth pound;2,429

Tower Hamlets pound;2,293

Hackney pound;2,280

Southwark pound;2,280

Westminster pound;2,248

Camden pound;2,236

Islington pound;2,223

Brent pound;2,173

Greenwich pound;2,105

The poorest:

Derby City pound;1,464

Barnsley pound;1,472

Telford and Wrekin pound;1,472

Derbyshire pound;1,490

Shropshire pound;1,515

Middlesbrough pound;1,516

Buckinghamshire pound;1,522

Nottinghamshire pound;1,531

Dorset pound;1,533

Wakefield pound;1,539

Rochdale pound;1,540

Bury pound;1,551

Delegated funding per

secondary pupil

National average: pound;2,422

The richest:

Kensington and Chelsea pound;3,380

Lambeth pound;3,297

Tower Hamlets pound;3,171

Islington pound;3,049

Brent pound;2,997

Camden pound;2,985

Southwark pound;2,949

Westminster pound;2,888

Greenwich pound;2,887

Hackney pound;2,851

The poorest:

Bradford pound;2,014

Cambridgeshire pound;2,041

Worcestershire pound;2,051

Wakefield pound;2,073

Northumberland pound;2,087

Barnsley pound;2,111

Dorset pound;2,133

Isle of Wight pound;2,141

Cornwall pound;2,161

Gateshead pound;2,171

Delegated funding per

special pupil

National average: pound;9,026

The richest:

Kensington and Chelsea pound;25,945

Haringey pound;14,152

Waltham Forest pound;13,966

Islington pound;13,910

Barking and Dagenham pound;13,651

Wandsworth pound;12,966

Brent pound;12,796

Lambeth pound;12,566

Leicestershire pound;11,842

Southwark pound;11,368

The poorest:

Newcastle pound;5,091

Luton pound;5,927

Isle of Wight pound;6,071

Dudley pound;6,528

Sunderland pound;6,707

Doncaster pound;6,739

South Tyneside pound;6,755

Wakefield pound;6,770

Poole pound;6,839

Plymouth pound;6,895

Source: National Association of Head Teachers

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