Lincolnshire schools say extra cash promised is not enough

Education chiefs say Central Government boosts will do little to relieve the pressures on schools as funding remains below the national average.
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Lincolnshire’s schools are set to get £560.080 million from the Government’s Dedicated Schools Grant this year, a 3.4 per cent increase on last year’s figure of £538.857 million.

Chief education officer Heather Sandy said the move to create fairness was ‘welcome’ but said schools still needed more money.

She pointed out that the funding still had to be spread across 362 schools across the county.

“What the government must do is recognise these increases have just redistributed the funding that was available, but doesn’t look at the increasing pressures – for example teachers’ pay awards, increasing pension contributions and building running costs,” she said.

“All of those services are increasing in costs so if this funding formula is genuinely going to be fair and transparent it must increase over time to recognise those pressures and ensure we don’t have to take the funding from front-line figures.”

The increase will see primary schools in Lincolnshire receiving an average of £3,913.59 per pupil, while secondary schools will get £5,069.

While this will see Lincolnshire’s position rise, nationally it will still sit around the bottom third for the country’s poorest-funded schools with primary pupils at 48th (improved from 33rd in December 2017) and secondary students at 56th (previously 37th).

Ms Sandy reassured parents however, that their children’s education was not suffering from the lack of funding adding that the “vast majority of schools and academies are judged to be good and outstanding and are working extremely hard to deliver quality education for young people”.

She said education leaders across the county were working hard to exploit any and all opportunities to bring benefits to young people.

Chairman of the Lincolnshire Schools Forum and executive head teacher of the Great Oaks Federation of Academies said: “It’s been a long-time coming and we’ve felt we’ve been one of the poorest funded local authorities for a significant amount of time.

“There are a huge number of pressures on schools and hopefully this is just the beginning of trying to reach a more equitable position with regard to funding across all schools across the country.”

He said schools were campaigning hard to get Government to recognise that more is needed.

“We need more money in the system to cope with those costs as they increase,” he added.

“Even with grants such as the Teacher’s Pay Grant schools struggle to have confidence going forward for a significant amount of time so it’s about a position of stability for schools so they can plan prudently for their financial future.”

Other funding, such as the high needs funding, pupil premiums and free school meals will also be staying at their current levels this year.

Both called on parents to get involved in calling for extra cash by writing to their MPs and ensuring they were signed up to extras grants such as pupil premium if eligible.