Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Funding for social deprivation

The DfES and Treasury have jointly published a report Child Poverty: Fair Funding for Schools and the government has signalled its intention to 'encourage' local authorities to use a more "equitable distribution of deprivation funding for schools".

It is well worth looking at the report - the executive summary is very succinct and the report can be found at www.teachernet.gov.uk/deprivationfundingreview

As a next step, the DfES has sent a letter to local authorities (including chairs of schools forums) asking them to review their current arrangements for funding schools for the costs of deprivation and to consider, in conjunction with the schools forum, whether change is required. The local authority is required to return a report to the DfES by May.

Clearly this is a matter of considerable importance for the schools forum.

The schools forum will need to establish early on what its authority means by 'additional educational need' and 'social deprivation' and to identify the proxy indicators used in the formula to distribute money to schools with high identified need.

The forum will also need to make a clear distinction between additional educational need and special educational need.

Some authorities receive little or no additional educational need funding in their dedicated schools grant because the local authority, as a whole, is at or below the threshold.

However, in these authorities there will still be schools that have substantially higher need than the local authority average.

These authorities need to identify very clearly where the funding for these schools comes from - because I suspect it comes from the basic entitlement of all schools in the authority.

In small authorities with very substantial additional educational need it is likely that the distribution across the authorities is pretty even, so how the money is used will be particularly interesting.

If you need more detail about the pattern already existing in your authority, please contact me directly on lindsey@wharmby.demon.co.uk and I will look at the published statistical data for your area. This might help you in framing the questions for your schools forum.

Lindsey Wharmby, ASCL funding consultant

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