I have no idea how MPs calculate finances, but they rarely venture into schools and talk to heads. Deprivation funding has always been a vexed issue. No sound head would argue that schools in deprived areas do not need extra support. Yet at the same time, merely moving some of the dedicated schools grant funding from other schools does not solve the problem.
I act as chair for the Wandsworth schools forum. We sit for many hours working through formulas that assist all schools. If MPs looked beyond the dedicated grant, they might find some rather large sums in standards funds, which could add nearly Pounds 200,000 to some schools' budgets. For those MPs unable to calculate costs, that means an added three teachers on the upper pay scale.
Yet these amounts are based on old data. Some schools receive extra money simply because they always have. Others, where the demographics have changed, get the same as before.
Every day, press releases from the Department for Children, Schools and Families announce monies for all sorts of little projects, quangos, brainstorming groups and even more initiatives. Perhaps MPs might like to suggest that they actually place this money at the schools where it might actually do some good.
Steph Neale, Headteacher, Beatrix Potter Primary School, Earlsfield, London.