MAJOR budget cuts are looming for some North Yorkshire schools next year following changes to Government calculations – but other schools are set to enjoy big funding increases.
The winners and losers are identified in a North Yorkshire County Council document outlining the impact of new funding methods, which are intended to make budgets more fair and simple but pose challenges particularly for rural schools.
Under the formula, schools can get extra money because of a number of factors, such as levels of deprivation and numbers of pupils.
The authority’s executive member for schools, Coun Arthur Barker, has claimed the proposals imposed a “one size fits all” model, making no allowance for the fact that North Yorkshire’s schools existed in very different circumstances from, for example, a London borough.
Chris Knowles, North Yorkshire branch secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said there was the potential for job losses at some schools and called for the Government to allow more local flexibility.
In the Selby area, Barlby High School will see its budget increase by just over £121,000, but Selby Community Primary School’s budget will be cut by £108,415 (10.6 per cent), Selby Abbey CE Primary School’s funding will be reduced by £91,530 and Barlby Primary School will receive £153,186 less, down 13.4 per cent.
Jo Jennings, head teacher at Selby Abbey School, said: “I think all schools across the country recognise that the funding review is going to be quite major and there will be some winners and losers but at the moment we don’t have much information.
“We’re a very resilient school, and we are confident that whatever happens, we will manage it.”
A council spokesman said overall funding was not being cut. The changes involved how the cake was cut.
He said the authority was working with schools around the region to find the “least worst” outcome after the Government had effectively given it a “menu of choices” to fund schools, meaning it could no longer fund them in the same way. It was now consulting with schools over “the least worst option”.
He said that although the changes were set to come into play from next April, there would be a gradual change for schools whose budgets would be cut, with no school losing more than 1.5 per cent of its budget each year.
The council and its schools are urging local MPs to support its appeal to Government to show flexibility over the proposals.
The Schools Forum, made up of representatives from all publicly-funded schools in the county, has agreed that the council should continue to lobby the Department of Education, believing the proposals will significantly restrict the way local decisions can be made about how schools are funded.
York could escape the worst
SCHOOLS in York are less affected by the funding changes than those in rural North Yorkshire, the city council has said.
Pete Dwyer, director of adult, children and education, said the authority had worked with schools to simplify the funding formulae and over the last few years, with the support of schools, the changes had been been implemented.
“As a direct result, the variations in proposed funding for York schools are not as significant as for many other authorities.
“However, we are discussing the details of the proposals with schools and will respond to the consultation accordingly.”
A spokesman said school funding had been discussed with head teachers at the York Education Partnership Board, and the council would collate responses and respond to the consultation accordingly.