Swindon schools set for £6.2m windfall

CREDIT: This story was first seen in the Swindon Advertiser

Schools in Swindon will see their funding increase by almost five per cent from next year, the Swindon Advertiser reports.

The new figures were announced by education secretary Justine Greening as part of a new fairer funding system hoped to put an end to the historic postcode lottery that saw huge differences in funding between similar schools in different parts of the country.

Swindon, as one of the worst funded areas in England, is now set to see a 4.9% increase amounting to more than £6.2m, putting it on par with other local authorities.

The news has been welcomed by many, including Swindon Borough Council and both the town’s MPs, who have put up a long fight to make sure that Swindon receives the funding it deserved.

In North Swindon, total funding for schools will increase from £63.2m to £66.2m – something which MP Justin Tomlinson is very pleased about.

“This is fantastic news for teachers, parents and pupils across North Swindon,” he said.

“Since being elected in 2010 I have worked alongside teachers, Swindon Borough Council and my colleague Robert Buckland MP, to lobby ministers to update the broken funding formula.

“We had some success two years ago in securing transitional funding, but I am delighted that we have now received confirmation that from next September our schools will finally be fairly funded.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “This is an historic and important reform that will increase the amount of funding that our local schools will receive.“I am pleased that the Government has listened to our concerns and is taking action to correct the unfairness that was created by the previous Labour government.”

Historically, Swindon schools have received between £450 and£600 less per pupil than the national average, which equates to a two-form primary school receiving about £190,000 less than the average school, and a secondary school of 1,000 pupils receiving £450,000 less.

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The new funding formula will see more than 10,000 schools across the country benefit as the basic amount allocated for every pupil increases.

A minimum cash increase for every school of one per cent per pupil by 2019-20, with the most underfunded schools seeing rises of three per cent per pupil in 2018-19 and 2019-20 will also be created.

But while the move has been applauded by many, some believe it will increase disparity across England as about 9,000 schools will see a fall in funding.

Coun Fionuala Foley, the cabinet member for children services and school attainment, said: “We are pleased the Government is giving more funding to schools in Swindon which will go some way towards closing the funding gap.

“Our analysis of the figures released late last week shows that Swindon will see a general increase in funding but it will not be the same across all of our schools. We will be doing further work to work out what the impact will be.”

Justine Greening said: “Standards are rising across our school system and a fairer funding formula will ensure we can build on that success. It will replace the outdated funding system which saw our children have very different amounts invested in their education purely because of where they were growing up. That was unacceptable and we have now made school funding fairer between schools for the first time in decades.

“It’s a long overdue reform and our £1.3bn extra funding means every school can gain.”

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