Press release

Plans to end the postcode lottery of school funding revealed

Fairer funding proposals published so that every child is funded according to their needs

Crucial reforms that will tackle the historical postcode lottery in school funding have been set out by Education Secretary Justine Greening today.

Funding every child fairly and according to their specific needs sits at the heart of delivering the government’s pledge to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, but the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated. It is based on patchy and inconsistent decisions that have built up over many years and on data that is over a decade old. This outmoded system allows similar schools with similar students to receive levels of funding so different that it puts many young people at an educational disadvantage.

Currently, disparities in the current school funding system mean a school could get 50% more if it were situated in another part of the country.

This cannot be allowed to continue, which is why the government has today published its fair funding proposals, replacing the current system with a new formula to ensure that children with similar characteristics and similar needs attract similar levels of funding - regardless of where their families happen to live.

As a result of the proposed national funding formula, due to be introduced from 2018 to 2019:

  • more than 10,000 schools will gain funding, including more than 3,000 receiving an increase of more than 5% - up to 3% in per pupil funding in 2018 to 2019 and a further 2.5% in 2019 to 2020

  • significant protections have also been built into the formula so that no school will face a reduction of more than more than 1.5% per pupil per year or 3% per pupil overall

  • for pupils with high-level special educational needs (high needs), where funding changes could be even more acutely felt by the most vulnerable young people in our society, no area will see their funding reduce.

Local authorities due to see gains on high needs will see increases of up to 3% in each of 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

Our proposed reforms will mean an end to historical unfairness and underfunding for certain schools.

We need a system that funds schools according to the needs of their pupils rather than their postcode, levelling the playing field and giving parents the confidence that every child will have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

The detailed proposals set out today are based on the principles and broad design outlined in the first stage of the national funding formula consultation, which received strong support earlier this year.

The proposals will allow schools and local authorities to manage the transition to fairer funding while making the best use of their resources and managing cost pressures, ensuring every pound is used effectively to drive up standards and have maximum impact for the young people they serve.

Notes to editors:

  1. The schools and high needs consultation documents will be open from 14 December for 14 weeks until 22 March.

  2. Read the government’s response to the first phase of the schools national funding consultation and high needs national funding consultation.

  3. The national funding formula will be introduced in 2018 to 2019. There will be a transitional year during which local authorities will continue to set local schools funding formulae, before a move in 2019 to 2020 to the great majority of each school’s individual budget being determined on the basis of a single, national formula.

  4. To support schools in using their funding to greatest effect we have put in place, and are continuing to develop, a comprehensive package to help schools to become as efficient as possible.

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