Tories delay school funding overhaul until at least 2018

A long-awaited overhaul of school funding in England has been delayed until at least 2018, the education secretary has announced.

The Department for Education had hoped to introduce a “fair funding” formulanext year to replace the current system, which allows for wide variations between schools in some large cities and those elsewhere in terms of how much money is allocated per pupil.

But Justine Greening made a statement to parliament on Thursday that it would not be introduced until the 2018-19 school year to allow the DfE to form its response to a consultation held earlier this year and to conduct a second consultation after it publishes more details on how the formula will work.

“There is also a strong sense in the response to the first stage of the consultation that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an historic change and that we must get our approach right,” Greening told MPs.

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“I will therefore publish the government’s full response to the first stage of the schools and high needs consultations and set out my proposals for the second stage once parliament returns in the autumn.”

The announcement was greeted with dismay among school leaders and local authorities hoping for extra funding.

“The financial situation in these schools is already critical because of huge increased cost pressures and the delay in the introduction of the new funding formula is potentially catastrophic,” said Julia Harnden at the Association of School and College Leaders.

Greening confirmed that the government’s current minimum funding guarantee for schools will be retained for a further year, and that no local authority will see a reduction in their dedicated schools grant. However, previous cuts to the education services grant would remain in place.

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