‘Funding boost’ for schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire delayed by a year

Thorpe St Andrew School principal Ian Clayton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Thorpe St Andrew School principal Ian Clayton. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Government reforms that could see schools in our region gain thousands of pounds of extra funding have been delayed by a year.

Ministers have long promised to introduce 'fairer funding' to address wide differences in the money similar schools in different parts of England receive.

This year, schools in England received an average dedicated schools grant of £4,612.11 per pupil, with Norfolk on £4,506.74, Suffolk on £4,354.26, and Cambridgeshire on £4,253.74.

Ministers had planned to introduce a national funding formula in 2017-18, but yesterday new education secretary Justine Greening said this was being pushed back to 2018-19.

Ian Clayton, principal of Thorpe St Andrew School, said: 'That news is very disappointing for Norfolk schools, because Norfolk really should have benefited from any changes that were being proposed.

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'We are going through a period where budgets, in real terms, are reducing.

'One of the unintended consequences of all the exam changes is that my departments are having to spend thousands of pounds on new textbooks for GCSE and A-levels, and that is a huge additional burden on my budgets that nobody has taken into account whatsoever.

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'Anything that was going to produce more money for the school would be critical just to meet the basic needs required by the changes to the exam system.'

The f40 campaign for school funding reform, which includes Suffolk and Cambridgeshire county councils, said it was pleased 'fair funding' would go ahead, but was disappointed by the delay.

Chairman Ivan Ould said: 'As we have been campaigning for a fairer funding system for over 20 years we can handle this delay, though many schools will feel cheated as they were anticipating a funding lift in the next financial year. They will now need to take urgent action to find ways of managing with insufficient funding for a further year.'

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said it was 'maintaining close contact with Department for Education, the Education Funding Agency and other local authorities in the Eastern Region to ensure that we – and Norfolk's schools - receive definitive information about this in a timely manner.'

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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