County council vows to continue campaign for fairer funding as draft school budgets are issued
EDUCATION chiefs in Cambridgeshire will continue to lobby the Government for a fairer system of funding after the county’s schools received their draft budgets for 2013-14.
The budgets, issued three months earlier than normal, are significantly reduced for some primary and secondary schools due to national changes.
The Government is moving from a local formula for funding – developed with Cambridgeshire Schools Forum to reflect the circumstances of the county’s schools – to a nationally prescribed formula with limited local flexibility.
Further national changes include a requirement for schools to contribute towards each statement of special educational needs, which will result in an additional commitment for a large number of schools when compared to the current system.
Cambridgeshire County Council has supported schools in lobbying the Government for many years to secure a fairer system of funding.
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This campaign has included sending a delegation of students and teachers to meet officials from the Department for Education.
Cllr David Harty, cabinet member for learning, wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove last month expressing his “severe concerns” about the likely impact of the new funding arrangements on school budgets.
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He said: “We remain acutely disappointed that Government has not progressed its fair funding proposals within the education reforms. The impact of not having honoured this commitment leaves Cambridgeshire as one of the lowest funded authorities in the country.
“The current funding changes have been rushed and pay insufficient regard to the needs of Cambridgeshire’s schools and pupils.
“We will be working with our schools to help them lessen the impact of any potential drop in funding, and to this end have issued draft budgets three months earlier than usual.
“But we will continue to call on the Government to bring forward their fair funding proposals as soon as possible, to enable all children to have an equal and fair start in life.”