Portsmouth Labour has joined local headteachers and union representatives in sharing concerns over the government’s introduction of a new investment formula for allocating funding to schools.
The News reported this week that local union members have thrown their support behind headteachers saying they have ‘no choice but to make cuts as some schools could lose tens of thousands of pounds over the next few years’.
While some school leadership teams are considering cutting staff, others are looking at stopping external groups holding clubs and subjects being taken off the curriculum.
The government’s new funding formula will mean money moved from urban areas. The Department for Education, which announced the new formula in December last year, said Portsmouth should see an increase in funding under the proposed changes, but critics remain concerned.
Educational leaders have said while some schools will see extra money, others will lose out. The government is saying in cash terms there is more money but they aren’t taking into account a rise in costs for schools.
For example, national insurance has risen as have pensions for staff. Local authorities are no longer required to provide some specialist services so schools are having to pay for these themselves, meaning that there is less money to spend per pupil.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader, is concerned by insufficient funding in the city and real-terms cuts to school budgets.
“Schools and councils up and down the country are raising their concerns with central government about the future funding of our education system and the flaws in the new funding formula.
Schools are under huge pressure to make ends meet at a time when so much is being done to improve attendance, engagement and attainment of all young people in Portsmouth.
Cutting school funding in some of the most deprived communities in the country, where educational attainment is often more challenging, makes no sense.
Our city and our school children deserve a better deal from this government”.