Schools in Bath and North East Somerset will see their budgets rise by nearly £3.7 million from next year – representing one of the biggest increases in the country.
Following consultation with schools in the area, Bath and North East Somerset Council is recommending the additional funding is allocated using the new National Funding Formula from April 2018.
All schools in Bath and North East Somerset will benefit from an increase in their budget from next April, with some of the lowest-funded schools receiving an increase of more than 10% as historically- low funding levels are reversed. The overall budget for schools in Bath and North East Somerset is rising by £3.68 million a year, representing a 3.9% boost to the total schools budget and the third highest increase in the country.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, Councillor Paul May, is being recommended to approve the introduction of the new formula from 1st April 2018 following consultation with local schools.
The Schools Forum, which consists of a range of representative head teachers, governors and Early Years representatives considered the results of the consultation before recommending to Councillor May the preferred option for the timing and delivery of the new National Funding Formula, which becomes mandatory for all local authorities from 2020.
Under the current funding system, some schools receive significantly more funding per pupil than other schools. The new formula seeks to address this anomaly while ensuring that schools serving the most deprived communities continue see their levels of funding protected through guaranteed per-pupil increases.
Councillor Paul May, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People (Conservative, Publow & Whitchurch), said: “This major funding boost for schools in Bath and North East Somerset is really good news for children and families across our area, and represents one of the best funding settlements in the country. The proposed funding formula aims to address historic discrepancies in the way school funding is distributed, whilst at the same time ensuring no school loses out. This means that, in total, B&NES schools would benefit from an extra £3.7 million a year from next April, and under the proposed formula every school would see their per-pupil funding increase.
“As a result of this recommendation, no school would see their funding cut, and schools with higher numbers of children from disadvantaged backgrounds would continue to receive additional funding as a result of the government’s Pupil Premium policy. The proposed new funding formula aims to provide the maximum increase for the maximum number of children and schools across our area.
“The Council has consulted carefully and extensively with schools across the area. While a small number of schools expressed a preference for retaining the existing formula, the clear majority of local schools, including the Schools Forum, expressed the view that we should adopt the new national formula from next April. This brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number quickly and no school will lose out.”
During the consultation with local schools, a small number of schools expressed a preference to stay with the existing local formula for longer as this would provide them with a greater share of the additional money in the next year or two, with a lower amount allocated to other schools in the area. Analysis of funding levels shows that, under the new formula, schools serving wards with the highest numbers of children from disadvantaged and vulnerable families will continue to be the highest funded schools in the local authority area.
A single member decision is anticipated to be made on Wednesday 27 December.