Last ditch appeal to save cash for North Yorkshire schools

First published in News by

A LAST ditch appeal to stop schools in North Yorkshire losing up to £7m in funding is being made to MP’s.

Angry county councillors are travelling to meet MP’s tomorrow (Wednesday, November 7) to press the Department for Education for flexibility on how money is spent on schools across the county.

Changes in the way the Department allows the money to be dished out means some schools, particularly in rural areas and in Catterick Garrison which has a lot of transitory pupils, could lose up to 20 per cent of their funding.

John Weighell, the leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said at an executive meeting today (Tuesday, November 6) that even the least worst option was unacceptable.

“I want to make it clear that this formula has not been initiated by us, but imposed from above. It is an imposition we are finding very hard to live with," he added.

Coun John Blackie said the Garrison schools would lose around £1 million pounds, with Risedale College down £600,000, and schools in Wensleydale losing £170,000.

“This just flies in the face of common sense, it is so wrong. They are punishing the rural schools, some of these youngsters travel up to three hours a day, do they really want them to travel further. You have to wonder what families in these areas must think, and wonder what they are doing there.”

Cynthia Welbourn, Coroporate Director for Eduction said although there would be transitional arrangements for two years, there was no guarantee for schools after that and many felt very uneasy at what lies ahead.

“This introduces great uncertainty, to some schools it is the cost of a teacher,.”she added.

But Coun John Watson said some schools will have gained and they may think in the future they should be getting more.

If the Government refuses to change the funding formulas the council is calling for a freeze on funding to at least guarantee existing budgets which would ensure that no school lost out while the promised review takes place and would protect school budgets against “unjustified reductions”.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park authority also pledged to lobby the Government to protect money for small rural schools.

Coun Blackie said: “The latent fear is that there is a second stage to this DfE initiative in two years time, introducing a one-size-fits-all national funding formula based on numbers of pupils that would remove many of the excellent small deeply rural primary schools that serve the Dales communities, at a stroke.”

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