Are South Cambridgeshire Pupils Worth Less?

In December 2016 the government published proposals to deliver a National Funding Formula across all schools in England. The government pledged to develop a clear, simple and transparent system that matches funding to children’s needs and the schools they attend. Schools were told that they would receive a consistent and fair share of funding.

However I believe weighting of factors in the formula to be disproportionate to core need failing to address the impact of decades of poor funding if simply superimposed on our historically under funded landscape. Therefore I launched a joint campaign with local Head Teachers for our pupils to be given a fairer deal in the Government’s National Funding Formula.

Under the government’s funding proposal, 27 of my schools will be even worse off; in real terms by at least 8%. When you are existing on a shoe string, such a reduction would constitute the final straw.

South Cambridgeshire schools, who received an interim funding boost in 2015-16, have historically been some of the lowest funded schools in the country, with per pupil funding up to £3000 lower than the same age pupils in Haringey, Tower Hamlets and other high funded areas. If the government’s proposal were implemented, based on current pupil data, those schools in London would be in line to receive up to £6,675 per pupil per year, yet schools in South Cambridgeshire would still only receive £4,198; How is that fair?

This isn’t just about fairness, it’s about equality. The then Education Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, recognised in her own consultation document that ‘underfunded schools do not have access to the same opportunities to do the best for their children, and it is harder to attract the best teachers to afford the right support’ – I believe she is absolutely right and that’s why I continue to push for the weighting of the formula to be recalculated. My pupils are not worth less than equivalent pupils in Haringey, so we need to fight for them.

I’m pleased the Education Department gave us the opportunity through an extended consultation to road-test the proposals. It was our chance to demonstrate what they really mean for our young people. A strong consultation response was the only way to get the message across that South Cambridgeshire pupils are worth more.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to the consultation – The government MUST listen!