Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Funds Shake-Up Welcome

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Funds Shake-Up Welcome

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

A NORTH East MP has given a cautious welcome to plans to reform school funding.

Ronnie Campbell, Labour MP for Blyth Valley in Northumberland, said the Government must ensure funding goes where it is needed - with extra cash for schools in poorer areas.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has published proposals for a major shake-up of schools funding in England aimed at removing historic differences in the amount of money on offer in different parts of the country. It follows a long-running demand for change which has largely been led by Conservative MPs. However, some Labour MPs, often those in rural areas, have also called for change. The Government has not yet published figures showing how much individual councils will gain - or lose - under the proposed new funding system. Mr Campbell said: "I'm quite happy to see all children treated equally. Where there area lot of problems then there should be extra money put in for them."

Under the present system there are significant differences in school funding in different local authorities. According to education charity SCHOOLS NorthEast the current funding arrangements see schools in the region receive PS45.6m less each year than the national average.

Government figures show that funding per pupil was PS4,551.27 per pupil in Northumberland in 2015-16, while in Newcastle it was PS4,710 per pupil and in Sunderland it was PS4,535.99. Some urban areas receive significantly more than councils in the North East. Birmingham schools received PS5,218 per pupil while those in Tower Hamlets, London, received PS7,014.38 per pupil. But rural areas tend to receive less money.

The discrepancy is meant to reflect the challenges faced by different parts of the country, with cash going to councils where large numbers of children receive free school meals or speak English as a second language. …

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