Devon Schools Funding Gap to Get Bigger

Devon's school children are to get even less money than the national average as the funding gap increases even further.

Currently pupils here are each worth £375 less than the national average - from April it will be almost £400 less. It is to do with the way the Government allocates funding, with money going to areas seen as more deprived and with a higher cost of living such as London and the South East.

David Fitzsimmons, who is chairman of the Devon Association of Secondary Heads, thinks it is the wrong way to work it out: "staff costs account for around 80 per cent of a school’s running costs.

“It costs roughly the same to employ a teacher anywhere in the country because of the national pay scales. Books and equipment cost the same. So do most of the running costs of a school. And in Devon many remote schools have to pay more for such services as broadband because of their distance from the main hub.

”The Government appears to accept rural primaries need more funding because of the problems of operating in a sparsely populated area but does not accept this applies to secondary schools too when they serve much wider catchment areas.

“I believe we need a completely fresh look at the cost of schooling in Devon before any minimum funding guarantee is applied. If historical allocations are used as a starting point then we will just remain at the bottom of the pile.

“It’s patently obvious no Government is going to be able to increase the size of the cake in the immediate future, because of our economic situation, so we have to make sure it is more fairly divided.”

Devon is the third lowest in the country in terms of the cash recieved. Parents, governors and schools across the county are being urged to respond to a Government consultation on how the funding system for education could be improved. You can find it here.