Same street, same challenges, different borough, #163;1,100 funding anomaly ..

13th November 2009 at 00:00
London's Haringey demands per-pupil parity with neighbouring Hackney and Camden

Teachers, parents and politicians last week pleaded with the Government to give schools in Haringey, north London, fairer funding as they receive less per pupil than those in neighbouring boroughs.

Schools in Haringey receive #163;1,183 per child per week less than their counterparts in the borough of Hackney, and are #163;1,174 poorer than those in Camden.

The disparity means that pupils attending different schools on the same road but in neighbouring boroughs will, over the course of their school lives, receive an education valued at thousands of pounds less than that of their peers.

According to Haringey education bosses, the reason for the difference is that the borough is classed as inner London for teachers' pay, but outer London for per-pupil funding. Its schools are therefore forced to spend a higher proportion of their budgets than those in neighbouring boroughs on teachers' wages.

A campaign has been launched to bring Haringey's per-pupil funding in line with Hackney, Camden and its other neighbour, Islington.

Last week, the Liberal Democrat MP for Haringey, Lynne Featherstone, held an adjournment debate with junior schools minister Diana Johnson, calling for the Department for Children, Schools and Families to increase per-pupil funding in the borough.

According to Ms Featherstone, if Haringey was given the same funding as Hackney, which the DCSF recognises as having many similar educational challenges, the borough would be #163;39.8 million better off this year.

The DCSF is holding a dedicated school grant area review of the funding formula, but the outcomes are not expected to be implemented until 2011.

Ms Featherstone said: "Each time I raise the issue of unfair funding, ministers answer by pointing to the review which is taking place. We urgently need interim arrangements.

"With each day that passes, Haringey schools are #163;109,000 worse off compared to Hackney. Every single day.

"I would like the minister to commit to emergency funding for 201011 so our schools do not fall further behind."

Ms Johnson acknowledged that Haringey was a "special case" and said its funding situation would be taken into account, but added it was unlikely that additional funding would be made available.

"The current 'spend plus' funding model is a stable and predictable method, so we were right to use it, but it is also necessary to carry out this review. To reopen the settlement issues and provide additional funding would destabilise the system," she said.

Universities minister David Lammy, whose Tottenham constituency is in Haringey, has thrown his weight behind the "fight for fairer funding".

He said: "It is unacceptable that our pupils receive less funding than those from equivalent boroughs."

Mr Lammy has secured a meeting with the DCSF and the leader of Haringey Council, as well as Haringey NUT to try to resolve the issue.

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