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Express & Star comment: Every school must get resources it needs

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The row over schools funding has grown increasingly bitter in recent years, with ministers accused of failing to address a chronic cash shortage.

Class sizes have risen, and many schools catering for the most vulnerable pupils have seemingly been dealt the worst hand, thanks to a funding allocation system that many criticise for failing to focus resources those who need them most.

There is no doubt that the current system, which is based on data that is a decade old, is overly complex and hardly transparent.

And as figures in this newspaper today show, the difference in funding for schools in the same borough can be huge.

The Government believes it has found a solution with a new framework that was first revealed back in 2016.

Its aim is to allocate a set figure to all schools, which can then be topped up depending on factors such as whether the school is in an area of deprivation, and the number of hardest-to-help pupils there are on the roll.

While the new framework has been broadly welcomed by school leaders, its launch has not been without its problems.

As is so often the case, the unsavoury spectre of people playing party politics is proving to be a major sticking point.

Some Labour councils do not seem overly eager to bring in a Tory policy, particularly one that looks like it might actually work.

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Meanwhile, it is highly questionable whether the Government’s new funding pledge will result in all schools getting the resources they so desperately need.

Ministers are happy to crow about pumping more than £7 billion into our schools over the next three years, but in real terms that will only take funding levels back to the way they were 10 years ago.

In that time pupil numbers have gone up significantly, as have the general costs of running schools.

While the new funding formula must be implemented by all local authorities as soon as possible, the overall level of funding is still not enough.

Every school must get the resources it requires to educate our children.

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