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Highlights from the Autumn Budget and the September NFF announcement

December 7th, 2017

NFF statement from Justine Greening 14/9/17

From: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/justine-greening-statement-on-national-funding-formula

In her speech in September regarding the National Funding Formula, Justine Greening has said that the extra money in the education budget means that the government  can “press ahead with introducing a national funding formula for schools and high needs from April 2018 that would provide a per pupil cash increase in respect of every school and every local area, and maintain the overall budget in real terms, per pupil”.

There will be a minimum Age Weighted Pupil Unit (AWPU) of £3500 for primary schools and £4800 for secondary schools.

Every school will attract at least 0.5% more funding per pupil in 2018-19, and 1% more in 2019-20, compared to its baseline. There is a cap of 3%.

Factors that can be used by the LA will be:

  • Deprivation
  • Low prior attainment
  • Lump sum £110,000 per school
  • Rates
  • Mobility of students
  • Growth
  • Split sites
  • Sparsity funding for remote schools

This means that the EAL, FSM and LAC factors will no longer exist.

Local authorities will still set the formula in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

How will this impact on schools?

Croydon is looking at about a 1.9% rise on average for primary schools, and a 2.6% rise for secondary schools.

Bromley is averaging a 0.5% rise for primary schools, and a 2.7% rise for secondary schools.

Sutton averages a 1.1% rise in primary schools, and a 2.9% rise for secondary schools. The primary school data is very uneven: a quarter do much better than average, with a rise of 2.8%, but the remaining 75% are at 1% or less.

These rises will not translate to the bottom line, however, for two reasons:

  1. It has been well publicised that the potential increases will not protect schools from inflation
  2. Councils have yet to take their cut before they push out their allocations through the local formula. The main reasons for this top-slicing is the growth fund (for expanding schools) and funding for statutory services to schools.

Conclusion

There are rises predicted in this data overall but it is impossible to know the final effect until Councils have run their allocations through their formulas and taken their cut. Councils will still be allowed to move 0.5% of their schools block funds to them if they want to. Using the London Borough of Croydon as an example, as they currently have an £7m cumulative overspend in the high needs block, this seems likely. The interplay between a rising and a falling lump sum, plus the slimming down of the factors, means we cannot see the likely outcome yet. Councils usually finalise their allocations at the end of January, to mid-February.

School-relevant items from the 2017 Autumn Budget

  • Maths: £600 maths premium for additional students that take maths A-level. This is supposed to increase the number of students taking maths A-level, but it has been suggested that it will not have the intended effect (click here to read article). There will be £27 million to expand the Teaching for Mastery programme into a further 3,000 schools. There will also be £8.5 million for a pilot to improve GCSE maths resit outcomes.
  • T-Levels: Technical alternatives to A-Levels, starting in September 2019. £20m has been put aside to develop these. More info can be found here.
  • Computer science: £84 million will be provided to ensure every secondary school has a qualified computer science GCSE teacher, and a new National Centre for Computing will be established.
  • Teacher CPD: £42 million will be invested to test the impact of the £1,000-per-teacher for high-quality CPD for those working in areas that have fallen behind, to reduce the regional skills gap.

Conclusion

From the Budget announcement it is clear that the Government is committed to strengthening and harnessing technical and practical skills amongst young people. The T-Levels will go some way to re-branding the BTEC-style qualifications and give them similar respect to A-Levels, something that is particularly important at a time when apprenticeships and vocational qualifications are a hot topic. It is encouraging to see teacher CPD prioritised financially – let’s hope that those eligible teachers are given the time to take these opportunities now funding is to be made available.