Conservative Government raids Nottingham schools’ budgets 

On Wednesday 14th December the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening announced a new funding formula for schools up and down the country. The Conservative Government’s new method of funding directly targets schools in Nottingham for big budget cuts. While our schools in Nottingham are set to lose tens of millions of pounds by 2019/20, schools in some of the wealthiest areas of England are set for big gains.

By targeting Nottingham the Conservatives have demonstrated yet again that they don’t act in the interests of our children, our schools or our City.  This latest move quite simply takes money from children in Nottingham only to hand it to wealthy, rural and mainly Conservative voting shire areas such as Wokingham and West Sussex. Other large cities, urban areas and areas with the highest levels of child poverty such as Birmingham and Manchester have been targeted in the same way.

Only last week the Chief Inspector of schools warned the Government that they must do more to tackle the growing gap in education outcomes for children in wealthy areas and lower outcomes for children in poorer parts of the midlands and the north of England. This latest announcement shows that yet again the Government is ignoring the advice and the evidence of education experts.

The National Audit Office has said that the scale of the cuts mean that schools in England will have to reduce spending by £3 billion between now and 2019/20.

Looking at the latest funding formula we can predict that during the ‘transition’ year 1 Nottingham schools will see a reduction in core funding of £2.6million with a £5.1million cut in full subsequent years.

98% of Nottingham schools will receive lower funding under the new Tory school funding structure  (87 out of 89 schools).

Biggest Impacts (full year impact prediction):

Secondary Schools:

Nottingham Academy: Reduction in core funding of £447k (3%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £224k

Bluecoat Academy: Reduction in core funding of £290k (2.9%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £145k

Ellis Guilford School: Reduction in core funding of £224k (2.8%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £115k

Primary Schools:

Fernwood Primary School: Reduction in core funding of £88k (2.8%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £44k

Southwark Primary School: Reduction in core funding of £78k (2.9%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £39k

Ambleside Primary School: Reduction in core funding of £77k (2.9%)  – Year 1 Transition this would be £39k

We have predicted the full year impact of the funding formula will result in an average reduction in ‘core’ funding for Nottingham schools of 2.6% which equates to an average reduction of £57k per school. If we take into account inflationary costs and other increasing costs to schools, such as wage rises for staff the outlook is extremely challenging.

Government has been taking direct control of schools using the academisation process and has significantly reduced the role of Councils in the funding and running of schools. Now we can see a clear motivation and policy decision by the Conservative Party to attack many schools that educate the poorest children in the most challenging circumstances.

The scale of the cuts could result in staffing reductions in schools, larger class sizes and fewer resources. Ultimately this proposal by Justine Greening is a kick in the teeth for Nottingham schools our children and our City.

Nottingham Labour will be lobbying the Government to reverse this decision and we will defend the funding our local schools receive in the national consultation. If you wish to have your say on the proposals you can do so here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/

Cllr Webster

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills at Nottingham City Council

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