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School cuts

FAQs

These FAQs are questions that we’ve been asked about the impact on the government’s funding proposals.

If you have a question that we haven’t covered, please get in touch with us at communications@warrington.gov.uk

Are these council cuts?

No. Schools are funded via a grant from central government. The proposed new formula is being set by central government and the local council has no direct control over how the formula is set.

Are we well-funded now?

Schools across Warrington have a strong track record of managing within tight budgets. The current funding formula used is already unfair, which is why when the government announced it was looking at a new, fairer, funding formula for schools both the council and local schools welcomed this. However the reality of the proposed new formula means that Warrington would be one of the worst funded areas for education nationally placing us 141st in the country out of 150.

Under the new formula schools in the best funded authority area would be funded at an average of £6775 per child while those in Warrington would generate £4306 on average – well below the national average and a difference of £2469 per child.

What is the national average funding under the new formula?

The average is just over £4700 per pupil. Warrington would receive an average of £4306 per pupil by comparison.

Why is there such a difference in funding if the new formula is supposed to be fairer?

In the new formula a larger weighting has been placed on pupil factors like deprivation and prior attainment than on the basic per pupil funding despite the costs of running a school being very similar in most areas outside of London.

Rather than being rewarded for doing well, it means we are being penalised for our economic and educational success.

It could be said that the government wants to help the most disadvantaged children?

If that was the case, we would support it. The fact is that the cost of running schools outside of London is fairly similar – all schools need a building, heat, light, insurances, materials, teaching and support staff. We do agree that there should be some adjustment to help schools that have the most challenging issues, however there is a need to ensure that the per pupil basic formula is fair before making other adjustments for deprivation. At the moment the basic funding per pupil is too low overall, which creates the disparity between the best and worst funded areas.

What we wanted from the government was fundamental reform. What we have got means that top 16 best funded schools remain the top 16 and the gap between the best and worst funded schools is as great as ever. We passionately believe that all children deserve the best start in life – which means greater equity is needed in the funding formula overall.

Can’t schools just share staff, or cut back office costs?

Headteachers collaborate effectively at both primary and secondary level and schools have already made savings as a result of other pressures. They also buy some services from the local authority, which allows them to reduce costs by benefiting from economies of scale. As the vast majority of all school budgets is spent on staffing, the reality is that any cuts to school budgets would mean an impact on our children’s education in one way or another.

If the government goes ahead with this, when would the change happen?

If it is approved after the consultation, then the new formula would be introduced in 2018 – 19.

I don’t agree with the proposals, what can I do?

Please read the page on government consultation and also the section on what you can do