The Labour group have a motion proposed for the full Council Meeting on Wednesday 19th April 2017 that seeks to secure the future of local schools.
Speaking with One United Voice on the Need for More Funding for All Kingston’s Mainstream Schools
This Council notes:
· The Government is planning to introduce a National Funding Formula (NFF) to calculate and distribute the amount of core revenue funding that every mainstream primary and secondary school will receive. This includes academies and free schools but not sixth forms.
· The Government will unilaterally decide on the national factors it will use to determine each school’s funding allocation which hands the Government almost complete control of the purse strings of our local education provision.
· These actions remove local democratic control and accountability from Kingston Council, with its long history of understanding and responding to the needs of each and every school.
· We are not expected to know what the NFF will be until this summer but we do know that the Government is planning a soft implementation for 2018/19 and a hard implementation for 2019/20.
· While the overall schools budget is protected in real terms until 2019/20, it does not provide for funding ‘per pupil’ to increase in line with inflation. The Audit Commission reported in December 2016 that mainstream schools would need to find £3 billion in cost savings to cover increased cost pressures such as pay rises, increased pension and national insurance contributions and inflation.
· The DfE published illustrative figures for 2018/19 based on 2016/17 pupil data to give an idea of how the NFF might work and based on this information a number of our local schools would benefit, but the majority of our primary schools will lose core funding. This is divisive and patently unfair. The Council has a responsibility to provide an excellent quality of education for every child and young person in our borough.
· Its recent decision to reduce the schools’ ‘per pupil’ funding by nearly £28 to support the High Needs Block is not lost money and will be redistributed for the children who need that support. The Council has also identified savings of £400k with planned growth of £720k for 2017/18.
More Government money is needed to support our local mainstream schools. The Government plans spending £2 billion on buying sites for free schools and £320 million on new grammar schools, while our existing schools continue to struggle with unwanted staff redundancies, backlogs of poor repairs, reducing educational options for our children and young people and poor recruitment prospects.
We therefore call on the Administration to:
Continue working with our two MPs, Chairs of Governors, head teachers and parent representatives to speak with a united voice in ensuring that all parents of school age children and young people, and the general public, are well informed about the unprecedented dire situation of education funding and the attack on our local democracy; and to continue to lobby the Government in any way possible, despite the formal consultation period having closed, to ensure that more money is put into our local schools.
We are united in our determination that all our schools have a secure future in which they are able to continue to develop well rounded citizens to lead productive and satisfying lives.