MPs lobbied as schools face a cut in funding

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

SCHOOLS in North Yorkshire could see their budgets slashed following Government funding changes.

Headteachers are lobbying MPs amid fears that a new “one-size fits all” system of funding will prompt widespread cuts.

Education chiefs warned that small secondaries, rural schools, schools in deprived areas and those with a high turnover of pupils would be hit hardest.

Bigger urban schools could see their budgets increase, experts say.

From 2013, all schools, regardless of size, will be given the same lump sum of funding.

Under the formula, schools can be given extra money based on ten factors, such as numbers of pupils and levels of deprivation.

However, local education authorities will lose the ability to allocate more funding to a school in need of extra support.

North Yorkshire County Council is lobbying the Department for Education over the changes.

Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools, said: “The problem with the Government’s proposals is they impose a one-size fits all model on the entire country, making no allowance for the fact that our schools exist in very different circumstances from, say, those of a London borough.”

Anton Hodge, assistant director for finance at North Yorkshire County Council, said one of the biggest losers would be Risedale School, in Catterick Garrison, which had a high turnover of pupils because it served a garrison town.

According to the council’s assessment of the “least worst” option, the school would lose about £500,000 a year.

The Wensleydale School, a small secondary school in Leyburn, would lose about £160,000.

Headteacher Graham Parker said he had written to Richmond MP William Hague outlining his concerns, adding: “We can cope with our predicted loss although it’s not ideal.”

North Yorkshire estimates that more than 100 schools will face reductions in their budgets.

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