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Gloucestershire schools to get fairer funding deal

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

Gloucestershire County Council
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UNDERFUNDED Gloucestershire schools are in line for a 3% rise which should narrow a funding gap which has the county has been on the wrong side of for decades.

An extra £9.6million is coming the way of the county’s state schools and academies in 2015/16.

Politicians and teaching professionals welcomed the Government move, which will see the amount spent in the county per pupil rise by an average of around £130.

“Gloucestershire’s schools have struggled with unfair levels of funding for far too long,” said Councillor Paul McLain (Conservative, Battledown and Charlton Kings), county council cabinet member for children and families.

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“Just a few months ago I wrote, with the support of the entire council, to education minister Michael Gove once again putting the case for extra cash for Gloucestershire’s pupils.

“It’s great to see that has finally been recognised.

“The additional £9.6m funding for our schools is a fantastic start, a really welcome down-payment.

“Importantly it’s a first step towards a new and fairer allocation system.

“This marks a huge step forward for our campaign for fair funding for Gloucestershire’s students and teachers.”

John Pemberthy, divisional secretary of the Gloucestershire Association of the National Union of Teachers, said all new money is welcome.

“It’s better news than we expected because we thought there would be no new money until 2016,” he said.

“There are still issues around how it will be distributed which need to be sorted out.

“And the NUT will continue to press for a fairer funding formula.”

Cheltenham Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood said the money would help schools like Balcarras in the town which has suffered from underfunding for many years.

Labour county council education spokesman Brian Oosthuysen said: “Gloucestershire as a county has suffered for decades - it goes back to the 1970s.

“Any new funding is welcome.”

Schools Minister David Laws said on Thursday that the extra money will be allocated in April 2015, for the 2015 to 2016 financial year.

“This will be the first time in a decade that funding has been allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending,” he said.

In the spending review last summer, the government announced that it would consult on how to allocate schools funding in a fairer way. The aim of the extra cash is to address funding disparities at a national level.

The Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for the Cotswolds, Paul Hodgkinson, has welcomed the news too.

“For too long, school funding has been unfair and based on historical data that no longer reflects pupils’ needs. Similar schools just miles apart can be funded at very different levels, just because they happen to be in different local authority areas," he said.

“I am pleased that David Laws’ proposals will mean that, for the first time in a decade, funding will be allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending.

“For Gloucestershire, this will mean a 3 per cent increase in funding with a total gain of £9.6million, very much a step in the right direction”.

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