School children in Cornwall continue to be underfunded.

With just 50 days to go until the General Election, political parties from all sides are trying to out-promise each other on how they would improve school in areas like infrastructure and attainment, but as of writing, I have not see how those who want to be in power will address the unbalanced and unfair way per-pupil funding is awarded across England, more so in Cornwall. It is a subject I have raised before in Fairer Funding for Cornwall’s Schools.

To be fair there has been some positive movement on school funding for Cornwall, with an extra £4.8m being awarded to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the 2015/16 period. I welcome this increase in funding, but this extra funding does not go far enough, and does not include early years funding. Furthermore, it seems what the Government gives with one hand, it takes with another. For example, the Education Service Grant – which is used to fund support services to maintained and academy schools – has been cut. The will be cut from £113 per pupil to £87 per pupil. It is slightly worse for academies, as the extra £27 per pupil they receive has been cut completely. And let’s not talk about UIFSM and how that has been funded….

The way the funding is awarded for Cornwall’s schools is by means of something called the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The DSG is made up of three parts; the schools block, early years block and higher needs block. The total amount awarded to Cornwall’s DSG is £339,346.00. Working out the many different funding streams and the allocation of the DSG is a mystical art (thanks Andy).

Looking at the total amount of funding per pupil  (TPF) – this figure is calculated by adding schools block, early years and higher needs block together and dividing by the number of total pupils –  Cornwall’s TPF amounts to £4,887.11. This figure ranks Cornwall 140 out of 151 in the list Local Authorities funding. That ranking says it all really.

It will be of no surprise to see the top 15 funded Local Authorities are all London Authorities.

City of London £9,660.07 1/151
Hackney £9,248.17 2/151
Southwark £9,170.06 3/151
Westminster £8,619.39 4/151
Hammersmith and Fulham £8,477.54 5/151
Camden £8,340.04 6/151
Tower Hamlets £8,335.65 7/151
Kensington and Chelsea £8,216.98 8/151
Lambeth £8,151.53 9/151
Islington £7,901.04 10/151
Wandsworth £7,387.23 11/151
Lewisham £7,348.92 12/151
Greenwich £7,327.60 13/151
Brent £7,087.11 14/151
Haringey £7,042.40 15/151
Newham £6,946.51 16/151

It is staggering when you look at these figures that a pupil in the Hackney is funded (TPF) near TWICE (1.89%) the amount a pupil in Cornwall is. This is a huge difference that I see no justification for. You also got to ask yourself why there is such a difference in funding as we in Cornwall. It makes me really mad.  Furthermore, I will be clear, I only want our schools to be funded equally, anything less is not fair on our school children. NB: I have not used the City of London as they only have 207 pupils so it would be unreasonable to compare.

When you rank where Cornwall comes compared to other LA’s, in the schools block element of the DSG we come 100th out of 151st.  In the early years block we are ranked 122nd out of 151 and for the higher needs block, Cornwall is two ranks from the bottom of the funding list at 149th out of 151st . I find this totally unacceptable, in fact shameful on how we are funded in Cornwall.

Looking at Cornwall’s neighbouring LA’s of Plymouth and Devon, Plymouth’s schools block is ranked 97/151 in the table of schools block; early years 57/151 and higher needs 69/151. When you look at Plymouth’s TPPF they are ranked at 83 out of 151 with a figure of £5,228.33 For Devon: schools block is listed 119/151 in the table of schools block; early years 123/151 and higher needs 107/151. Devon’s TPF is ranked 130 out of 151 with £4,973.97. I have all the figures for all the LA’s, but I will spare you having to read them all!

Below is are the details on the top 16 funded LA’s compared with Cornwall. I have also included the schools and early years block of the DSG.

LA Total Per Pupil (TPF) Funding Schools Block DSG per pupil Early Years DSG per pupil TPF Rank
City of London £9,660.08 £8,587.04 (1/151) £7,652.48 (5/151) 1/151
Hackney £9,248.17 £8,020.04 (2/151) £7,289.71 (7/151) 2/151
Southwark £9,170.06 £7,902.15 (3/151) £8,338.46 (2/151) 3/151
Westminster £8,619.39 £7,221.15 (5/151) £7,036.00 (8/151) 4/151
Hammersmith and Fulham £8,477.54 £7,388.64 (4/151) £6,434.51 (11/151) 5/151
Camden £8,340.04 £6,457.12 (10/151) £8,884.87 (1/151) 6/151
Tower Hamlets £8,335.65 £7,117.60 (6/151) £8,011.88 (4/151) 7/151
Kensington and Chelsea £8,216.98 £6,635.16 (8/151) £6,548.96 (9/151) 8/151
Lambeth £8,151.53 £6,960.75 (7/151) £7,627.59 (6/151) 9/151
Islington £7,901.04 £6,569.06 (9/151) £8,214.08 (8/151) 10/151
Wandsworth £7,387.23 £6,001.55 (15/151) £5,057.94 (24/151) 11/151
Lewisham £7,348.92 £6,198.57 (13/151) £5,948.88 (14/151) 12/151
Greenwich £7,327.60 £6,332.71 (11/151) £5,150.09 (20/151) 13/151
Brent £7,087.11 £5,723.88 (16/151) £6,044.75 (12/151) 14/151
Haringey £7,042.40 £6,155.64 (14/151) £5,476.49 (17/151) 15/151
Newham £6,946.51 £6,261.19 (12/23) £5,061.70 (23/151) 16/151
Cornwall £4,887.11 £4,464.04 (100/151) £3,670.69 (149/151) 140/151

As for the breakdown of funding per region for the schools block (only), the South West is ranked 5th out of 9th in funding – Cornwall schools block figure is £4,464.04; £111.46 above the South West average.

  1. London – £5393.77
  2. West Midlands – £4,632.20
  3. North East – £4,602.81
  4. North West – £4,565.21
  5. South West – 4,352.58
  6. Yorkshire and the Humber – £4,551.84
  7. South East – £4,349.68
  8. East Midlands – £4,429.14
  9. East of England – £4,411.67

The school block data can be looked at on the different local authority types with:

  • London – £5393.77
  • Metropolitan Authorities – £4,684.07
  • Unitary Authorities – £4,507.43
  • Upper Tier Authorities – £4,359.15

So whilst Cornwall is in a very few places better funded than other LA, it is far behind most. Each LA has its difficulties, but they are similar difficulties. Therefore, funding across the land should be more equal. The same standards and attainment levels are sought by all schools and LA’s.  LA’s are even ranked by the DfE on how well our students do in exams by the measure like achieving 5 x A*- C including Maths and English. Various Keystages have the same exams too. So surely the funding should be the same?! It makes no sense whatsoever to have such large diffferences in school funding. Maybe a solution is the Government could just divide the total amount of funding available by the number of pupils and then award it that way. At least each pupil would get the same and all children are treated equally.

 

 

 

 

 

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