Doncaster schools could lose £16m in funding shake-up

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint

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Schools in Doncaster are facing £16m being slashed from their budgets as part of changes to Government funding, unions have warned.

The proposed new national funding formula, being introduced from 2018 to 2019, will see the borough lose an average of £406 per pupil - the equivalent of 430 teachers according to teaching unions.

The Department of Education is making changes to the way it funds schools to try and close the gap between different geographical areas, with some schools expected to receive more funding.

However analysis by teachers’ unions’ published as part of the national funding formula consultation, indicates 98 per cent of schools will face cuts in per pupil funding.

Don Valley MP, Caroline Flint, said that Doncaster schools face an eight per cent reduction in funding between 2014-15 and 2019-20.

She felt the borough’s bid to improve standards may be jeopardised.

An inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee highlights that schools across England had to find ‘efficiencies’’ to save £1.1bn in 2016-17, and will have to save a further £3bn up to 2019-20.

Ms Flint said: “The Government’s efficiency target for schools is putting improved educational standards at risk at a time when Doncaster is working hard to raise standards across our schools.

“The Governments spends £39.1bn funding our schools. With rising pupil numbers cross the country, the increase in spending to £42.6bn by 2019-20 does not keep up with costs and inflation. Far from having school budgets protected, our report shows a steady squeeze.

“The Government estimates schools can save simply through better procurement, and more efficient use of teachers. This appears to me to be wishful thinking.

“It is clear schools are expecting more from teachers; and further pressure simply risks a deterioration in quality, when Doncaster’s schools are working harder to raise standards across the board.

“The great worry here is that the Government is relying on Ofsted reports and exam results to monitor progress. They have no other means of monitoring whether standards are suffering.

“Once children have poor SATS or GCSE attainment falls it may be too late for those children or they face greater challenges to catch up. The Government cannot ignore the impact. They need to understand the pressures on our schools.”

A DfE spokesman said school funding is at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17, and that is set to rise, as pupil numbers rise, to £42bn by 2019-20.

He added that it will continue to support schools to help them use their funding in the most cost effective ways.

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