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Schools funding formula still under formulation

Created on 30/08/2018 @ 07:56
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Powys county councillors who met at a scrutiny committee to discuss the future schools funding formula in Powys found that it is still being formulated.

They were hoping to discuss facts and figures and find out which schools, such as Newtown High School, would be the winners and losers under a new system, but were told that the meeting was to discuss the principles.

From 2019/20 schools in the county will be funded using the new formula which has been seen by many in recent months as a tonic to the chronic budget problems facing most schools in Powys.

Only in June it was revealed that school budgets in Powys are in crisis with schools already hundreds of thousands of pounds in the red.

At the meeting, several councillors pointed out that they had expected to see the funding formula in the documents on the subject and tables so that they can compare how it affects schools in their areas.

Without a formula how could they scrutinise “what the end product is”, Cllr Jeremy Pugh said: “You can’t have a pre-game without an end-game.

“How will this be delivered in the future?

“Will it be applicable in five or 10 years’ time?”

Cllr John Morris said: “The reason we were concerned about the previous formula, is seeing the secondary schools going into deficit and primary schools going into reserves.

“We want the formula to be equipped to get them out and stop them getting into deficit.

“Do you have the confidence this will?”

Finance director, Jane Thomas, replied: “Yes. That’s what we want and need and are prepared to back.

“The minimum provision will be established and can be compared with other schools.”

“Raising expectation on how much funding does that relate to, was never the intention of the review.

“There is not a magic pot of money that we can increase school funding."

Education director Ian Budd added that if they showed a final formula too soon then a discussion on the principles would be cut short.

Cabinet approved the formula review in July and the design has four funding blocks:

1. The core educational delivery and basic running cost

2. Additional educational needs and social deprivation

3. Costs relating to the site, facilities and property

4. Other factors and adjustment – and covers circumstances that are not standard for all schools

The review will be sent out to consultation in the autumn.

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