Response to changes to schools funding
Lambeth Council has responded to the government’s consultation on changes to funding for Lambeth schools, which closed yesterday (22 March).
The technical response was based on the council’s discussions with schools and head teachers about the impact of the National Funding Formula, which will see funding for Lambeth schools reduce over the next three years.
Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth council, has also written to the Minister for Schools to invite him to Lambeth to meet with councillors and local schools to see the educational success that they provide and to listen to concerns about the changes to the funding formula.
The National Funding Formula is designed by the government to ensure school funding is distributed more evenly across the country. However, analysis of the proposed changes make it clear that Lambeth, and its schools, would be among the worst-hit in the entire country. London Councils, which represents all local authorities in London, estimates that around 70% of London’s schools will see a reduction in funding. An illustration of the potential impact, published in Parliament, shows that Lambeth, with Camden, Hackney and Lewisham would suffer the biggest funding reductions in London – with cuts of 2.8% by 2019/20.
The National Audit Office estimates that the changes, alongside the government’s decision not to increase overall funding with the rate of inflation and extra costs including salary increases, pensions, apprenticeship levy etc, mean that mainstream schools have to make £3bn in efficiency savings by 2019-20.
The council’s response to the technical consultation highlighted that:
- The loss of funding could lead to staff reductions and uncertainty for many schools
- The imposition of a national ratio on funding between primary and secondary schools ignores local needs and could produce imbalances
- The plan for a flat lump sum per school ignores the needs of areas like Lambeth
- The formula does not take into account how such a cut in school funding could be delivered without impacting on school standards
- The cut in local authorities funding for schools (where Lambeth has already had to make significant savings in the face of falling funding levels for local authorities, represents an acute risk to school standards and pupil welfare
Cllr Lib Peck said: “We have listened to the concerns of head teachers, parents and teachers about the impact that a reduction in school funding could have on Lambeth schools and made clear those concerns in our representations to the government.
“Lambeth schools have been a major success story in the last few years, due to hard work, partnership and investment – the government should not put that at risk.”