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Rural schools are ‘under risk’ from funding changes
4:46pm Friday 19th October 2012 in News
SMALL rural schools in North Yorkshire risk being “starved of money” by Government funding changes, critics of the system have warned.
A move to simplify education funding could result in the closure of schools with the fewest pupils, claims North Yorkshire county councillor John Blackie.
Coun Blackie criticised the changes after hosting a meeting of seven small primary schools in the Yorkshire Dales.
From 2013, all schools, regardless of size, will be given the same lump sum of funding by their local education authority.
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, such as small schools with high overheads.
Coun Blackie said the seven Dales schools may not lose out immediately under the new system, but it was feared the changes were driven by a “funding by pupil number” approach that would ultimately starve them of funding and potentially force their close.
He said there was concern given the small numbers attending the schools.
The schools, together with secondaries which serve the Upper Dales, are to make joint representation to the Department of Education and local MP William Hague about the changes.
Further concerns have been raised by councillors at Richmondshire District Council.
Councillors Angie Dale and Paul Cullen have issued a motion supporting efforts to lobby the Government over the changes.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said the Government recognised that small schools, particularly those in rural areas, could not meet some of their fixed costs through per pupil funding alone.