ANNAL NAYYAR-New schools funding scheme to be delayed by a year

The implementation of a new national funding formula for schools will be delayed by a year, Education Secretary Justine Greening has told MPs.

The government had been planning to bring in the new funding scheme in England from 2017-18 – but it will now apply from 2018-19, she said.

“We must get our approach right,” Ms Greening told the Commons.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner criticised the delay as “woeful”.

And Neil Carmichael, chairman of Parliament’s education select committee, who raised the issue in an urgent Commons question, asked why more delay was necessary.

“When does she really expect this programme to be fulfilled?” he asked.

He pointed out that the plan had already gone out to consultation earlier this year.

‘Historic change’

The government says the new formula is needed to tackle uneven levels of funding across England, with the best funded areas getting more than £6,300 per pupil per year, while the worst-funded averaging just £4,200 – but there are concerns that while some schools will benefit, a new formula could mean some schools in areas of need facing budget cuts.

Ms Greening told MPs she did not want to rush into changes without being sure of their ramifications.

In a written parliamentary statement, she said the first stage consultations on the new national funding formulae for schools and high needs, published in March, “have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response from head teachers, teachers, governors and parents”.

“There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right.”

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