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10 July 2018, 19:29
"Cambridgeshire is one of the worst funded education authorities in England."
That's the claim from Cambridgeshire's Schools Forum.
The organisation says the County receives £400 less per child than the average funded authority and £1600 less per child than Westminster.
The CSF is calling on the Secretary of State for Education to increase funding for all the county's early years, primary, secondary and special schools.
The Forum says:
"Parents, students, school staff and others who care about our schools are asked to show their support for our campaign by signing and sharing the Government petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/211156.
The nature of our county means that there are a high number of small, rural schools who have been seriously disadvantaged by the cut in the lump sum allocation for each school from £150,000 to £110,000 resulting from the introduction of a National Funding Formula. This is equivalent to the full costs of about one teacher. "
The forum added:
"The High Needs budget is also under enormous pressure with increasing numbers of children with high needs and the complexity of their needs is rising as well. Funding for early years childcare is also stretched as Government funding levels for 30 hours of 'free' childcare do not cover the costs of delivery."
Philip Hodgson, Chair of the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum said:
"The impact of this funding shortfall is being felt by the county's children who, despite the efforts of our teachers to maintain standards in the face of stretched budgets, are seeing larger class sizes and a narrowing of the curriculum. The outcomes for children in vulnerable groups are among the worst in England and the county is below average for social mobility with Fenland in the bottom 10% - we need increased funding so that schools can better tackle these disadvantages."
Jon Lewis, Service Director for Education for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said:
"Cambridgeshire County Council fully endorses the Schools Forum's call for increased funding for Cambridgeshire's schools. As part of the f40 campaign we are also working together with the 42 other lowest funded education authorities to put forward a new fair model for distributing education funding in England."
Funding for the county's schools has not kept pace with inflation over recent years and although two-thirds of Cambridgeshire schools saw a modest increase in funding for 2018-19 this has been completely eroded by increasing costs including salary and pension increases, growing recruitment costs, inflation and the Apprenticeship Levy.
A Department for Education spokesman said:
"We are investing an additional £1.3bn in schools across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above previous plans, meaning we are protecting funding in real terms, per pupil.
In fact, analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that real terms per pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50% higher than it was in 2000.
Cambridgeshire is gaining 2.4% per pupil in 2018-19 and will see further gains in future years. This is equivalent to £101 per pupil this year.
And as part of our national funding formula, this year Cambridgeshire will receive £65.7 million in high needs funding, an increase of 1.5% on what they planned to spend in 2017-18.”