A reformation to the school funding system was first announced earlier this year by Nicky Morgan, former secretary of state for education. Her intentions were to change the scheme in order to make it fairer for all schools across the UK. The initial proposed start date for the new funding regime was set for the 2017/18 academic year.
Since then, Nicky Morgan has been replaced as secretary for education by Justine Greening.
Shortly after Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle, Justine Greening issued a delay to the funding overhaul, claiming it would now be introduced in the 2018/19 academic year. Many school leaders and local authorities were displeased by the delay as they had already planned for what was seen as much needed injection of funding for 2017.
Greening suggests that the delay is necessary in order to ensure that the new funding is being handled in the most beneficial way possible: ‘It is a very important opportunity for a historical change and must be done correctly’. Greening is awaiting a response from The Department for Education as to how the new funding plan will work.
The f40 group, who have long campaigned for fairer funding in UK schools, appear to be somewhat relieved by the delay. They feel that the plans to introduce the scheme for the 2017/18 academic year were unrealistic and would be almost impossible to achieve.
However, some schools are reported to be struggling to operate under the current funding regime. One school in West Sussex is currently considering the idea of a 4-day school week, instead of the regular 5 days in order to ease their budgetary concerns. West Sussex is currently one of the lowest funded areas in the UK, receiving a total of £4,198 per pupil each year. The highest funded areas, inner city boroughs within London, receive around £6000 per pupil each year.
The funding delays may be disheartening for some, but making sure that the new system is fair and equal is the highest priority for the new education secretary. However, some schools in need of extra funding for 2017 are set to suffer, all be it temporarily, due to the delay.