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Has your child's school lost money following the award of substantial extra sums to Haringey? Lynne Featherstone argues that that is what is happening in many schools in Haringey, even after her campaign to have Haringey awarded Inner London funding (an increase over the former Outer London calculation) and after the Pupil Premium has been awarded.
Her article argues that Haringey has an additional £16m for the financial year 2013/14 but that by adjusting the funding formula the Education Authority has engineered a cut in the funding for 12 schools in her constituency.
Now this is all very complex and it is only January. I was once a school governor in Haringey and my recollection is that none of this gets sorted out until after the financial year has started, so there may yet be adjustments which resolve some of this.
The discussion forum where this is sorted out is the Haringey Schools Forum and these minutes contain what might be the answers, but in a form which I find all but impenetrable.
It might be worth asking a school governor.
This is going to be an interesting debate. Firstly Lynne Featherstone has done well in getting the Inner London Premium recognised. I would add that the Tottenham MP David Lammy and the Council Leader Clare Kober have also campaigned on this (see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm091104...), as indeed have previous MPs and Council leaders. It has been going on for years.
The slight downside is that this was probably all going to happen anyway with the progress to standardising per-pupil funding under the coalition, as these cases would have been anomalous under that principle. Nonetheless it is an advance, and a principle that a Labour DfE ignored despite much pleading for years.
One of the issues is that Haringey teachers get paid an inner-London weighting, and have been paid this weighting for years, although that is not refelcted in the funding formula. The difference has been made up by council taxpayers, who have to top-up the schools through less money for other services other than education. Therefore I would expect that there should be no rise in school funding once this money now comes through a specific grant: the money is already paid and accounted for, so there should not be a further rise in school funds. As the central grant funding kicks in, the subsidy from the rest of council will be withdrawn. This means more money to spend on parks, social services, reducing council tax or whatever.
Well, that's the theory. In fact, all central government administrations, be they Labour, Conservative or Coalition, are masters of the art of giving with one hand to local government, and then taking away with the other. So the Haringey Schools budget might have had an increase in its base funding, but then might equally have had a large sum of money removed previously given to cope with disadvantage. Therefore the total pot is the same and there is no real new money, even potentially less. Hence schools' budgets not moving.
I think the main conclusion one should draw is that we will need to listen to all the arguments, and probably do a lot of head scratching over the statistics, before a fair conclusion can be drawn.