Conservatives In Swindon Welcome Additional Money For Local Schools From New National Funding Formula

Conservatives in Swindon have welcomed new data from the Department for Education which shows how the town will continue to benefit from increased schools funding under the new National Funding Formula.

Nationally, core funding for schools and high needs continues to be at an all-time high, and has risen from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £43.5 billion this year. That includes the extra £1.3 billion for schools and high needs that was announced in 2017 and that we have invested across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above the plans set out previously in the spending review.

In fact figures from the independent thinktank, The Institute for Fiscal Studies, show that in 2020 real-terms per pupil funding for five to 16-year-olds in schools will be more than 50% higher than it was in 2000.

The Conservative Government is ending the unfair distribution of school funding. The system for school funding has historically been unfair, opaque and outdated. Schools facing the same challenges, and for which we set the same expectations, have received wildly different resources.

Under this old flawed and broken formula, schools in different parts of the country who have the same proportion of their pupils eligible for the pupil premium, can see a variance in funding of £500 more for each pupil. The old funding system has stood in the way of schools supporting every child to succeed and prevented teachers from delivering the highest-quality education we know they want to provide.

Swindon’s schools have been particularly badly affected by Labour’s flawed funding formula. It is a flawed formula that Justin has actively campaign to change so that every child has an equal opportunity. That is why we have taken action to correct this and we secured more than £4.3million worth of transitional funding for Swindon schools as we move towards ending the postcode lottery of old.

Our proposals for funding reform will mean that schools and local areas will, for the first time, receive a consistent and fair share of the schools budget, so that they can give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential while having the certainty of budgets going forward.

Locally, in spite of some reports, over the two years 2018/19 and 2019/20, per-pupil funding in Swindon will increase by £216 (a 5.2% increased – compared to the national average of 3.2%) and when changes in pupil numbers are taken into account, total funding rises by £11.2 million (up 8.8% compared to 2017/18).

In 2019-20 the new National Funding Formula, which is opposed by Labour, will see schools in Swindon benefitting from:

  • £3,789 per primary pupil. For a class of 28 (the average primary class in Swindon), this equates to £106,150 per class
  • £5,043 per secondary pupil. For the same class of 28 pupils, this equates to £141,268 per class
  • An additional £4.2 million of funding through the growth, premises and mobility factors of the formula, which are not distributed on a per pupil basis.

On top of the National Funding Formula, Swindon will receive £9.2 million in Pupil Premium funding (including the Service Child Pupil Premium and Pupil Premium Plus) to support the 7,825 pupils eligible for Pupil Premium of all abilities perform better, and close the gap between them and their peers.

It will build on the £48 million schools in Swindon have already benefitted from since the targeted programme was created in 2011/12.

The town’s MPs have also campaigned to improve funding to support young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.

The ‘High Needs budget’, as it is known, has risen by £1 billion over the last five years, and Ministers have taken steps to improve access to tailored educational support including; additional capital funding both for new special schools (including the new Chruchward Academy which will be built in North Swindon); inclusion units in mainstream schools; and training more expert practitioners including Educational Psychologists.

Campaigning by Justin & Robert has also provided additional funding for this year and next. Swindon will receive an additional £1 million over the two years, bringing the total High Needs budget for the town for 2-18 year-olds to £30.5 million in 2018/19 and £31.1 million in 2019/20.

This additional funding is also leading to improvements in schools across the Borough.

Additionally, today 78% of children in Swindon attend schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, compared to 71% in 2010. Nationally, almost 1.9 million more students are attending schools rated good or outstanding today than were in 2010.

However the Government wants to go further in its efforts to ensure that every child, regardless of their background, can access a good or outstanding school place.

Data shows we are on course to have created a million school places in this decade, following the net loss of 100,000 in the six years up to 2010 under the previous Labour government.

In Swindon, over 6,000 places have been added; including through the establishment of new Free Schools like the Great Western Academy. There are also agreements in place for six new schools to be created across the town in the coming years.

As well as an increase in funding, improvements in results, and additional school places, figures from the Department for Education show that there are now 15,500 more teachers in our schools across the country today than in 2010, and our teachers are more qualified than ever – over 27,000 people started a postgraduate teacher training course in England this year. There are also 276 more teaching assistants in Swindon compared to 2011.

Furthermore, teachers are set to benefit from the end to the freeze in public sector pay. Following the end of the pay cap, the Government is funding the cost of the pay award for teachers with £508 million over two years, over and above the amount schools had already been allocated.  Ministers have confirmed that they are are also covering the costs of increased pension contributions for state schools (the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is a key part of the pay and benefits package to attract and retain teachers; it is one of the most generous pension schemes in the country, and with rising longevity has become more costly).