Matthew fights for cash relief for local schools

Matthew met Schools Minister Nick Gibb this week to press for transitional funding for Barnet schools to assist them through the change to a National Funding Formula. This meeting followed on from a meeting with Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, at which the financial implications for Barnet schools was discussed.

The current system for distributing the funding for schools is out-of-date, arbitrary and unfair. Similar schools and local areas receive very different levels of funding with little or no justification. A school in one part of the country could get fifty per cent more money if it were located in another part of the country. The Government is proposing to change this to a fairer system which will help ensure that the same child with the same needs will attract the same funding regardless of where they happen to live.

Under the proposals more than 10,000 schools will gain funding. Inevitably, however, schools which have been generously funded in the past may lose some funding. This includes many schools in outer London. Allocations to most Barnet mainstream schools will reduce – with losses varying from a fraction of 1% up to a maximum of 3% over two years.

Matthew said: “I have met with primary headteachers in my constituency and I believe it is generally agreed that there needs to be a fairer distribution of funding to schools. However, I share concerns that school budgets are already under enormous pressures from a range of sources - for example inflation, changes to NI payments and increased staff costs - and that even a small reduction in funding will pose a serious threat to the high quality of teaching, learning and achievement which epitomises Barnet’s schools. Several headteachers indicated that they were having to cut their teaching staff numbers to balance their books.

“At my meeting with the Schools Minister, I drew attention to the additional pressures already on schools – particularly the smaller ones – and pressed him to consider a fully-funded transitional period to allow schools time to adjust their budgets and help ensure that the high standards currently being achieved do not fall.”

Matthew is pictured meeting with Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening