National Funding Formula

Are you concerned about the potential impact of the new National Funding Formula for schools?

Thank you for visiting our web page dedicated to the National Funding Formula and how it will affect our school, and all schools across our region.

Our Head Teacher and Chair of Governors first wrote to parents and carers regarding this on 27th January.  Please click here for a copy.

The Head Teacher provided parents and carers with an update on 10th February.  This letter also included a copy of a letter to parents and carers from George Osborne, MP.

This webpage will provide information about

  • why the government is introducing the National Funding Formula
  • how the National Funding Formula has been designed
  • what might be the impact on children’s education
  • how the issue is being reported in the media
  • what can be done to raise concerns with the government

Why is the government introducing a National Funding Formula

For many years now it has been widely acknowledged that the way schools are funded is unfair and is described by the DfE themselves as a “postcode lottery”.  The level of funding a school receives has been entirely dependent on geography and not on the needs of students nor the costs of running a school in their particular location.

Cheshire East, along with the other 40 lowest funded local authority areas, has long argued that this needed to be tackled through a National Funding Formula.

How has the National Funding Formula been designed?

In December 2016 the Department for Education (DfE) published its proposed design for this National Funding Formula.

The following documents can be accessed from the links below:

Although there is broad agreement about the elements to the National Funding Formula there is widespread concern about the weighting of these elements.

The new funding formula quite rightly proposes to guarantee a fixed amount for each student in the country. The current proposal is that this will be:

  • £2711 for primary age pupils from £2905 today being a 6.7% CUT
  • £3797 for key stage 3 students from £3998 today representing a 5% CUT and
  • £4311 for key stage 4 students from £4779 today representing a 10% CUT

Students will then gain ‘top ups’ to this based on their postcode, prior attainment and eligibility for Free School Meals. The formula currently proposed by the government would allow some students in both primary and secondary schools to gain up to £4,970 more funding per year than other students.  As you can imagine, the cumulative effect of this on widening disparities between school budgets will be significant.

What might be the impact on children’s education?

The government’s own calculations indicate that this will mean by April 2019:

  • an annual £190,000 cut in the funding for Wilmslow High School
  • on top of the 8% real terms reduction in funding for all schools that has been estimated by the National Audit Office as a result of changes to employer pension and National Insurance contributions and the Apprenticeship Levy

This adds up to around £1 million income reduction for Wilmslow High in real terms in 2019 compared to 2014.

This is unsustainable as, despite prudent financial management, our ability to make further efficiency savings without significant impact on the quality of education and other services is limited.

As you will appreciate from the wide range of media comment, the damaging impact will be on not just our school but all schools across Cheshire East and a range of other local authorities.

Cheshire East Council have stated the following:

Schools in Cheshire East will not have enough money to fund a basic education for all their children, including for children with special educational needs

We are certain that the current proposals will leave us with insufficient funds to maintain adequate provision in our schools. If implemented as proposed, this will lead to many or all of the following consequences:

  • The number of teachers will reduce and class sizes will increase in primary and secondary schools
  • It will be harder to recruit and retain the best teachers
  • GCSE and A level courses will be cut leaving our students with fewer options
  • Reductions in support staff will lead to less support for vulnerable children
  • Opportunities outside the classroom will dwindle or disappear
  • Training for teachers will be cut and time to plan lessons will be reduced
  • There will insufficient money to keep textbooks, computers and other classroom resources up to date
  • Standards in schools across all subjects, including English and mathematics, are likely to fall

The new formula must be sufficient for any of our existing schools to operate effectively regardless of their intake. We support the principle of schools that serve disadvantaged communities receiving additional support but this should not be achieved by making other schools unviable.  

How is this issue being reported in the media?

There has been a range of media coverage regarding the NFF and the “school funding crisis” over the last few weeks.  You may wish to read more about this by following the following links:

What can be done to raise concerns with the government?

We are working on providing further resources to help you support us.  However, you may already feel able to take the following steps:

Firstly, write to your local MP

Secondly, support the campaign that will be developing through community engagement, representations to the Department for Education and a wide range of media channels.

Thirdly, provide a formal response to the DfE consultation –