Wrong formula

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Sunderland was cited as having low per-pupil funding from the Standards Fund ("Cash to improve schools fails to reach poorer areas", TES January 19).

The Standards Fund allocations show how difficult it would be for schools to be funded by a national per-pupil formula. The dependence on pupil numbers to determine funding is too simplistic.

Sunderland has developed a sophisticated "activity-led" model that gives finance to schools takng into account the fixed cost of "opening the doors" as well as pupil numbers.

I look forward to a debate about how true activity-led school funding can be put in place. Only by recognising the need for specific extra funding for deprivation, small schools, rural transport and so on, will a common formula be found.

David Jones Assistant director (strategic services)Education and community services Civic Centre Sunderland

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