25th Apr, 2017

New funding formula may leave our school worse off, headteacher warns

Joshua Godfrey 17th Mar, 2017 Updated: 17th Mar, 2017

A CONTROVERSIAL new funding system or schools could leave Pershore High School more than £100,000 a year worse off.

Headteacher Clive Corbett made the claim in a letter to all six of Worcestershire MP’s and said it was becoming ‘impossible’ to run a school on the current level of funding.

Mr Corbett, who is also Chairman of the Worcestershire Schools Forum, launched the outspoken attack after the Government claimed the new system of funding was fairer.

For decades schools in Worcestershire have been chronically underfunded and headteachers and county MPs have for years been lobbying the Government for more cash.

Last year, Education Secretary Justine Greening announced an extra £9million in funding for the county’s schools as part of the new funding formula, which will benefit some, but not all of Worcestershire’s schools.

But the new formula was immediately attacked by schools in Birmingham which stand to lose cash and according to Mr Corbett, his school will also be left with less.

In his letter he revealed per pupil funding under the new system will fall from its current level of £3,909.01 to £3,797.29 at Key Stage 3, and from £4,438.27 to £4,311.59 at Key Stage 4.

With approximately 500 pupils in both Key Stage 3 and 4, this means the Station Road school could lose £119,000 a year in funding when the new system kicks in from 2018/19.

“We are facing significant budget pressures for 2017/18,” he wrote

“The continued low funding position for the county’s schools is exacerbated by past unfunded cost pressures particularly for employees.

“Further increased costs going forward include a one per cent unfunded pay increase, an 0.8 per cent rise in contributions to the local government pension scheme, changes to contribution rates for teachers pensions and a new 0.5 per cent apprenticeship levy.

“For an already low funded local authority to have these unfunded burdens is crippling, since the issue is not with the division of funds but with the size of the overall funding pot allocated to Worcestershire.

“Quite simply, the national emphasis has to be upon properly funding the basic need requirements of existing schools before embarking on lavishing icing on a non-existent cake.

“Even more worrying is that, using Pershore High School as an example, the National Funding formula will make things worse.

“After 15 years as a headteacher, I am afraid that I am at a loss.

“I really cannot say how we can move forward without setting deficit budgets and making staff redundant. The magic wand will work no longer,” he added.

In response, Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “I have championed the great work of our good and outstanding local schools which offer an excellent education for our children, and have supported every effort to secure a fairer funding deal.

“Having spoken to many local head teachers over recent months I know the tremendous job that they do within tight budgets and I know we all welcome the recently-announced extra money made available to Worcestershire’s secondary schools.

“The principals underpinning the national funding formula are being consulted on right now and I am sure teachers and parents will have their say as we work together towards a fairer deal for Worcestershire,” she added.

Read Clive Corbett’s letter in full below: