A LEADING Pershore headteacher has claimed Worcestershire schools need extra funding now despite the prospect of a cash boost from 2017.
Pershore High School headteacher Clive Corbett told the Observer it was ‘very good news’ a new funding formula will be introduced in 2017 replacing the current system which disadvantages the county’s schools.
Currently pupils in Worcestershire receive £987 less in funding compared to their counterparts in Birmingham.
But in Wednesday’s (November 25) Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled new proposals which could end the under-funding of Worcestershire’s schools.
During his speech in the House of Commons, Mr Osborne said: “We will phase out the arbitrary and unfair school funding system that has systematically underfunded schools in whole swathes of the country.
“In its place, we will introduce a new national funding formula. I commend the many MPs from all parties who have campaigned for many years to see this day come.
The exact details of the extra cash will be set out once the Government has completed a consultation in 2016.
“On first sight it is very good news that a national fair funding formula will be introduced from 2017 – this is at least two decades overdue,” Mr Corbett said.
“I would like to thank local MPs, in our case, Harriett Baldwin, for understanding and supporting the cause.
“However, Pershore, along with all other Worcestershire schools, is very much in need of extra funding now.
“I say this as Chairman of the Worcestershire Schools Forum as well as headteacher here. We have all had to make significant savings over recent years to compensate for appallingly low levels of funding.
“Of course we will make things work in the best interests of all young people in Worcestershire but current levels will barely suffice.
Already this year £6million has been handed to Worcestershire County Council as a cash boost to try and close the gap between the best and worst funded schools in the country.
Pershore’s MP Harriett Baldwin, who joined with other Worcestershire MPs to campaign for fairer funding, said she was pleased the issue is being addressed.
“I am particularly pleased to see the plans to address the formula for funding local schools and I know it will be welcomed by teachers and parents across the county.”
MP Nigel Huddleston who told the Observer he can’t see a situation where the new cash won’t benefit Evesham’s schools.
“The one thing I really wanted to come out of the Autumn Statement was a commitment to fairer funding for schools and I am therefore delighted to get this confirmed by the Chancellor today,” Mr Huddleston said.
“There will be a consultation to iron out the details of the new school funding formula, but given that Worcestershire is currently one of the worst funded counties in the country at the moment, I can not imagine any circumstances in which we would not end up with an increase in funding.
“So I see this as good news for Worcestershire schools and all our children who attend them.”
The Headteacher of Prince Henry’s High School Dr Evans, who has been campaigning on the fairer funding issue along with heads from across the county, welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement.
“The senior leaders and governors at Prince Henry’s have been campaigning at both local and central government level for some time with regard to the funding issues that have affected many Worcestershire schools,” Dr Evans said.
“The news in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that consultation will be starting in the New Year on a fairer National Funding Formula to be introduced in 2017 is therefore most welcome and much needed for Worcestershire children.”