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Council calls on Government to give schools adequate funding

Waltham Forest Council has warned the Secretary of State for Education of the harm a proposed new funding model would have on schools in the borough if the Government were to press ahead with it.

Under the Government’s proposed new National Funding Formula (NFF), the borough’s schools collectively stand to lose 2.2 per cent, or £4.3m – with only a small number being marginally better off. This cut would come on top of the £17m in real terms that Waltham Forest’s schools will lose between 2016 and 2020 due to additional financial pressures, as identified by a recent National Audit Office report.

Cllr Grace Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, has written to Justine Greening MP, the Secretary of State for Education, to raise concerns about the NFF. The letter comes after the Council responded to the Government’s NFF consultation, outlining all of its issues with the proposed funding model.

Headteachers across Waltham Forest raised funding concerns in their own responses to the Government’s NFF consultation earlier this month, as well as raising awareness and generating support by writing to parents about the issue.

In her letter, Cllr Williams says a £4.3m collective loss will cause unprecedented pressure on the borough’s schools and pupils, adding, “I have spoken with many teachers and headteachers from all types of schools who feel that this will make their jobs so much harder and are worried about how they will cope and the impact on pupils.”

She ends the letter by saying: “I would urge you to reconsider the way that the National Funding Formula is weighted to ensure that schools in areas such as Waltham Forest are not significantly disadvantaged. We also support London Council’s suggestion of an injection of £335m in additional funding, which we have noted is equivalent to just 1 per cent of the schools block – to protect all schools from a cash cut and enable gainers to reach their formula allocations sooner.”

Alongside the letter, Cllr Williams attached petitions signed by parents, which call on the Government “to commit to additional funding to implement a genuinely fair funding formula and to protect funding per pupil”.

Schools and students across Waltham Forest have made impressive progress in recent years – all of the borough’s secondary schools are now rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted and its primary schools are in the top 10 in the country for pupil improvement. In addition, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged pupils are among the lowest in England.

This success is a result of the strong relationships between schools, parents, children, staff, teachers and governors, supported and co-ordinated by the Council. The local authority is seeking to cement the good work to date through a new Learning Partnership, which will drive standards further upwards and make sure no child is left behind.

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