Grammar schools biggest winners in school funding shake up

CREDIT: This story was first seen in iNews

Grammar schools are among the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s overhaul to the school funding system, it has emerged.

iNews reports that grammar schools, which disproportionately educate children from well-off backgrounds, are 24 times more likely than other state schools to see their budgets boosted by the reforms.

The news comes after ministers last month ushered in the biggest shake up to how schools are funded in a bid to end decades of historic unfairness in the system.

The new national funding formula was introduced to iron out differences in funding, which meant similar schools in different parts of the country receive wildly different sums of money per pupil.

According to an investigation by the Times Educational Supplement, the new funding formula will hand schools serving some of the wealthiest communities in the country the biggest increases to their budgets.

The selective schools will now see their coffers swell by at least 10% by 2019/20. The news has sparked outrage among teachers’ leaders who have branded the new funding allocations as “unfair”.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said grammar schools will be “better protected than comprehensives and secondary moderns” due to the reforms.

“The national funding formula was supposed to fund all schools fairly and according to their needs, but these figures show that the government’s failure to provide enough funding overall is failing to achieve that,” Dr Bousted added.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union added: “The information that the funding may be privileging grammar schools over others requires urgent investigation as it appears to indicate the formula is anything but fair.” Under the new formula, 313 schools are in line to receive an increase in funding of 10% or more, of which 51 are grammar schools.

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Grammar school heads have highlighted that the reason for the bigger increase going to grammars is because the schools have been historically underfunded. Under the reforms, the majority of schools will see their annual budget increases capped at three per cent, but a minority will be handed a double-digit percentage increase to bring their per-pupil funding to the minimum level – which is now £4,800 for secondary pupils.

Low funded schools Jim Skinner, chairman of GSHA, said: “This is not a grammar school issue, this is a low-funded school issue…there is a minimum per-pupil funding level below which a school simply can’t operate.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The national funding formula makes no distinction between types of schools.”

“Some institutions that have been historically underfunded because of the regional disparities in the previous system will see bigger increases than others. The majority of these are not selective schools.”

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