Schools lose out on funding in Lincolnshire as one Boston academy predicted to lose more than £1m by 2019/20

Education news
Education news

A teacher’s trade union is claiming that schools across Lincolnshire will be almost £45 million worse off by 2019/20 than they were in 2015/16 – with one school in Boston said to be losing out by more than £1 million.

Published by the National Union of Teachers and other teacher unions, compares each school’s funding in 2015-16 with the funding the Government predicts it will receive in 2019-20 under its proposed new National Funding Formula (NFF), adjusted for the impact of inflation and cost increases imposed on schools.

The NUT claims that schools in Lincolnshire are being cut by £44,975,691 over this Parliament.

NUT Secretary Mr Ken Rustidge said: “The Government are breaking their promise to protect school budgets. Parents in Lincolnshire should be deeply concerned by these damaging cuts that hit almost every school.

“The Government must act now to protect schools.”

Adrian Reed, the executive head teacher of Boston Witham Academies Federation, which runs Haven High, a school predicted to lose out by £1,097,327 - equivalent to £1,172 per pupil – said that year on year, the school had been losing out on national funding.

He said there were projected increased costs for pensions, national insurance contributions and pay rises - some of which are not funded by Government.

He said: “All the politicians are saying is they are protecting school funding and Government says it is spending more on education than before. The fact beyond that, however, is there are more children in schools than ever before.”

“Year on year we are receiving less per child, and there are more children in schools. There are more things we are being asked to make cuts to that Government won’t fund.”

Mr Reed said he had already raised the issue with the local MP.

However, Mr Reed also reassured the paper that the trust had built up ‘substantial reserves’ over the last few years and had a five-year budget plan. He added it had also been successful in a number of funding bids which were ‘locked in’. He added that as the school was part of the BWAF academy trust there were a number of facilities and services which could be shared.

The Government has previously stated that in Lincolnshire, funding would go up by 0.5 per cent - resulting in an extra £62.2 million, if a proposed new funding formula was implemented.

It believes the new formula will ‘correct clear inequities in funding levels’.

It also says it has protected schools from losing more than three per cent per pupil for the lifetime of the formula.

A Department for Education spokesperson has previously stated: “The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at almost £41bn in 2016-17 – and that is set to rise, as pupil numbers rise over the next two years, to £42 billion by 2019-20. But the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated.

“It is clear that there is broad consensus on the need for a fairer funding formula to bring an end to the historic post code lottery in school funding. We have been consulting schools, governors, local authorities and parents and will carefully consider the responses to make sure we get the formula right and every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact.

“We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide support to help them use their funding in cost effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services.”

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Andrew Fulbrook, the head teacher of Boston High School, which is predicted to lose out on £609,262 (down £1,172 per pupi), said he would not comment on the detail of the NUT’s figures but said: “It is absolutely fair to say that every school budget is currently stretched to breaking point.

“We manage our funds very carefully at Boston High School and ensure that the needs of our learners are always met, but, invariably, this means that we need to constantly look to make efficiency savings in each and every year.

“As a consequence, I am increasingly concerned for staff retention and recruitment.

“With the increased costs placed upon schools, it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance budgets. I would urge politicians to look very carefully at the proposed National Funding Formula and ensure that every school is able to operate in a fair system. It is wholly unfair that some schools, Boston High School being one, should receive less funding, under the new proposals.

“I am at a loss as to understand as to how this can be described as ‘fair’.”

Debbie Barnes, Director of Children’s Services at Lincolnshire County Council, said the authority had been campaigning for a fairer deal for years.

“Under the proposed plans, some schools would see a drop in funding and whilst we welcome the increase for some schools, we do not think that any school in Lincolnshire should see a budget reduction as we are already one of the worse funded LA areas for school funding.

“We need to ensure that all our schools have a core budget to deliver full-time, high quality education in appropriate class sizes. I’m deeply concerned that the current proposals will not enable our schools to do this and leave some in a vulnerable position. The plans are still based on historic calculations and do not reflect the unique challenges we face with our schools in a large rural authority”