Warrington schools are funded principally from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The Department for Education (DfE) allocates this annual fund via its funding arm, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), and covers all education activities.
The funding operates on a traditional financial year basis, i.e. April to March.
The total DSG is split into four separate blocks:
- a schools block intended to fund individual school budgets
- an early years block that supports pre-school education in all settings (including the private, voluntary and independent sectors)
- a high needs block that supports special schools and all non-mainstream educational functions (including top-ups to schools/Academies for individual pupils with additional or special academic requirements)
- a small block for central services.
The schools block funding for each authority is based on a standard formula calculation, informed by aggregated pupil numbers and characteristics. However, flexed by an individual authority multiplier means that the average level of funding for each learner varies significantly from authority to authority. Although the DSG covers all schools, academies, on the other hand, receive their essential funding elements directly from the ESFA. As this amount is 'recouped', it reduces the total we receive.
The revised DSG Warrington allocation for 2021/22 is £111.2 million, after recoupment of £77.0 million of academy budgets. The corresponding figure for 2020/21 was £103.7 million after £70.9 million was recouped from academy budgets*.
Traditionally, Warrington has been one of the lowest funded local authorities. For example, its school's block unit of funding for primary schools is 2.4% below the national midpoint of funding and 4.9% below the average (the equivalent figures are 3.9% and 7.1% for the secondary sector). Similarly, its early year's block is funded at the national minimum rate.
*Figures correct as of May 2021
The f40 campaign
Due to the disparities in funding, we're a member of the f40 campaign group of Local Authorities, which advocate a fairer national distribution of resources.
To understand more about the f40 group, please visit their website - The f40 campaign for fairer funding in education. Indeed, much of the current debate on fair funding has been highlighted by f40.
Individual school budgets
Individual school budgets are calculated by a local formula that reflects the procedure used by National Funding (this approach is not presently mandatory, although this is the longer-term ambition of the DfE). The formula applies to all primary and secondary schools, irrespective of whether they're maintained or have academy status.
Pupil places in special schools or other alternative provision are funded at a national level of £10,000, with individually agreed top-ups depending on specific need and setting. These top-ups are paid by the relevant commissioning body (in most cases, individual local authorities).
In addition to the DSG funding, school's receive a Pupil Premium of £1,345 for each of its primary age free school meal-entitled students, £955 for those in the secondary sector, £310 for children in service families or £2,345 for students in care or adoption. In addition, there is funding for post-16 students at Green Lane and Fox Wood special schools on a national learner standard rate.