THE Government is coming under increasing pressure to reconsider a proposed formula which would see east Cheshire schools become the worst funded in the country.
Under the national funding formula for state schools in England, Cheshire East Council would become the lowest funded local authority, down from £4,158 per head to £4,122 per head.
The Education Policy Institute has today announced that secondary schools across the country could lose the equivalent of six teachers if the funding formula goes ahead alongside other financial pressures, such as increases in pension and national insurance contributions, and cuts to a major education grant.
George Osborne, Tory MP for Tatton and former chancellor, announced last week that he had met with Justine Greening MP, education secretary, alongside Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach and Macclesfield MP David Rutley to voice his concerns on the plan.
Writing on his website, he said: “I wanted the Government to know directly how concerned local teachers and parents in Cheshire are about the new schools formula.
“Everyone knows we need a new formula and that there isn't extra money lying around, but the money needs to be fairly distributed.
“I said when I met with local schools I would be a strong voice for them – and that's what I will continue to do. My hope and expectation is that the message is getting through.”
Reports in the national press have today suggested that Theresa May, prime minister, could be forced into performing a U-turn on the proposal following pressure by backbench MPs.
Fair Funding for All Schools – Cheshire East is holding a protest against the funding formula in Sandbach from 11am tomorrow, March 18.
Victoria Andersson, from the group, told the Guardian a Government U-turn would be ‘good news’, and urges as many parents as possible to show their support tomorrow.
“It seems that MPs are finally seeing sense on funding,” she said.
“Tory MPs are realising the problem, and I know that east Cheshire MPs are against the funding formula.
“The MPs that attended our recent meeting [Mr Rutley and William Wragg, MP for Hazel Grove] did not agree to the funding formula, and felt it was flawed from the start.
“So many schools will miss out on funding across the country, not just because of the funding formula, but with the other financial pressures schools are facing.”
But the Department for Education insists that the funding formula would be fairer for pupils across England.
A spokesman said: "School funding is at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17 and that is set to rise, as pupil numbers rise over the next two years to £42bn in 2019-20.
"Under our proposed new funding formula schools will be funded according to their pupils' needs, rather than by their postcode, with more than half set to receive a cash boost.
"Of course 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.”
Consultation on the proposed funding formula ends on Wednesday, March 22.
To have your say, visit consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2