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Demanding a fairer deal for Waltham Forest schools

School children and teachers across Waltham Forest should not be prevented from reaching their full potential by “unfair” funding arrangements, the Government has been told.



Cllr Mark Rusling, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, has written to Nicky Morgan MP, the Secretary of State for Education, to raise concerns about funding arrangements under the Dedicated Schools Grant. The letter was accompanied by a report outlining the reasons the Council believes Waltham Forest schools are under-resourced and suggesting alternatives for consideration by Ministers and the Education Funding Agency.



Through the grant, Waltham Forest receives less funding than neighbouring boroughs facing similar challenges including deprivation. The borough’s classification as an ‘Outer-London’ borough for teacher pay allowances also makes it harder for schools to recruit and retain excellent staff, as teachers can earn more money in schools just across the borough’s borders. Within the report, anecdotes from local headteachers illustrated the challenges they face in trying to compete with schools in nearby boroughs able to offer higher wages as a result of the Government’s funding arrangements.



One headteacher said: “We have lost good candidates on the day of interview who preferred our school and the role on offer to them but spoke of the difference the Inner London Weighting will make and took roles in neighbouring boroughs offering the allowance.”



Cllr Rusling reiterated these concerns at an event on Monday 5 January at Parliament, which was attended by local headteachers and celebrated continued improvements in standards at Waltham Forest’s schools over the past two years.



He said: “Our schools have made some fantastic achievements recently – and, including provisional GCSE results, they are now above national averages in all phases. 



 “However, the future success of the borough’s schools could be greatly enhanced if there were fair and adequate funding arrangements. At present, it is clearly an unequal system and grossly unfair on our hard-working young people and dedicated teachers as they deserve the best resources possible. 



“We firmly believe we could accelerate and sustain improvements in standards if our schools were more fairly funded.”



The proportion of schools that are rated by Ofsted as ‘Good’ or better has improved from 67% in August 2012 to 86% in September 2014. This means that 7,599 more children in Waltham Forest are attending a good or outstanding school.



Last month’s Key Stage 2 results revealed borough pupils made more progress, across reading, writing and maths, between 2010 and 2014 than in previous years. The results, which were published last month, saw Waltham Forest’s national rank move to 34 out of 152 – and establish the borough as the most improved local authority in London in terms of its jump in ranking.



For more information about the borough’s schools visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk.

If you would like more information about any of these press releases or have a different media enquiry please contact us at media@walthamforest.gov.uk or on 020 8496 3000.