Thomas Bridge 11 September 2012

Staffordshire CC: DfE plans for education funding could create ‘crisis situation’

Proposals to simplify school funding could have a serious impact on education, Staffordshire CC has warned.

With the Government planning to alter the way education is funded, Staffordshire CC has launched a major lobbying exercise to pressure the Department for Education (DfE) to rethink proposals that the town hall considers to be potentially harmful for its local schools.

Changes to the way finances are determined, what schools have to pay for, and the way pupils with additional needs are funded threaten the viability of education establishments, the authority has emphasised.

A letter from council leader Philip Atkins sent to secretary of state Michael Gove recommended that the DfE implement a differential sector based lump sum of funding, alongside further flexibility for the town hall to make best use of its resources.

Staffordshire CC stated that such small changes to the proposed approach would mean that the Government’s plans could be effectively applied to schools in the area.

Meeting later today, the Schools’ Forum will develop proposed alterations before launching a formal consultation with Staffordshire schools.

Staffordshire CC cabinet member for education and skills, Liz Staples, said:‘Our analysis of how the reforms would affect Staffordshire schools has rung alarm bells. As it stands, the changes could undermine the future viability of some schools and mean that a number of schools will see big increases in their budgets at the expense of others.’

Cllr Ian Parry, cabinet member for finance and transformation, said: ‘We do think that with careful thought the DfE could make some relatively simple changes to their proposed approach, which will transform a potential crisis situation to one which we can work with locally. Our priority is the education of our children and we will stand with our schools to protect their future in any way we can.’

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