Friday 17 March 2017

Brent Council urges parents to respond to government consultation on school funding

From Brent Council today

Parents, schools and Brent Council are uniting to defend local school children following Government plans to cut funding to local schools by £2.2 million.

The proposed cuts - which would see local schools lose two per cent of their budgets overall and equate to £105 per pupil - are a result of the government's National Funding Formula. Overall, schools in London are set to lose £19million.

As around 80 per cent of a school's budget is spent on staff salaries, funding reductions are likely to result in fewer teachers and support staff posts in schools, as well as increased class sizes. This is significant because top quality teachers who are motivated and highly skilled are the main reason that children make progress and achieve good results in their education.

Cllr Mili Patel, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:
In recent years, schools in Brent have made great strides. We have gone from 78 per cent of schools in the Borough rated as 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted, to 96 per cent currently. Our primary school, GCSE and A Level results are all above the national averages and we are in the middle of an ambitious school build programme to ensure that every child in Brent has access to a good local school place.

All of these things are absolutely fantastic and a result of the tireless hard work and dedication that our senior leaders, teachers, support staff and governors in Brent put in every single day. But we need the teachers and schools' staff in the first place and this is only possible thanks to the sustained investment over many years.

Fewer teachers and bigger class sizes will do nothing to help our school children thrive - especially in a hugely diverse borough like Brent where pupils come from a huge range of different backgrounds. This is why we, at Brent Council, will do everything we can to support our schools.

 If you are a parent of a school age child, the Government's current plans will see nearly £105 a year taken away from your child's education. I would urge all of our parents and carers in Brent to respond to the Department for Education's consultation and let them know what you think.
What to do if you would like to know more or share your views

Have your say: You can submit your views to the government consultation about the NFF online at: is open until 22 March 2017.

These are  suggested responses to certain questons as set out below. 

·       Q1: In designing our national funding formula, we have taken careful steps to balance the principles of fairness and stability. Do you think we have struck the right balance?
·         The proposals do not provide enough financial stability for schools. All Primary schools in Brent stand to lose significant amounts of funding, and all schools are experiencing rising costs.
·         There is no evidence that schools can manage the funding reductions whilst maintaining or improving performance levels.
·         Additional funding should be allocated to prevent cash losses to individual schools.

·       Q2: Do you support our proposal to set the primary to secondary ratio in line with the current national average of 1:1.29, which means that pupils in the secondary phase are funded overall 29% higher than pupils in the primary phase?
·         Locally in Brent the proposals mean moving away from this national average resulting in primary schools losing funding.
·         The Department for Education should look again at the impact of the national formula on London primary schools.

·       Q7. Do you agree with the proposed lump sum amount of £110,000 for all schools?
·         Small school funding is not just a rural issue.  Smaller primary schools, including faith schools, serve their community but can not always expand as physical space is an issue in London.  Smaller primary schools should receive additional funding.

·       Q14. Are there further considerations we should be taking into account about the proposed schools national funding formula?
·         The school national funding formula should be considered alongside the Pupil Premium funding.  We believe that an area cost adjustment should also be applied to the Pupil Premium to reflect higher costs in London.
·         Many of the cost pressures facing schools are the direct result of government policy, such as changes to national insurance and pension contributions, and the introduction of the Apprenticehip Levy. Any action the government can take to ease these cost pressures would make the introduction of a fair funding formula less challenging.

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