Head of Newport school joins calls for funding rethink

PUBLISHED: 10:10 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:10 24 March 2017

Gordon Farquhar, Joyce Frankland Academy principal

Gordon Farquhar, Joyce Frankland Academy principal

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The headteacher of Joyce Frankland Academy has joined some 3,000 other schools in the country in calling for a rethink on the Government's new schools funding formula.

Gordon Farquhar, principal at the Newport academy, has written to Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst about the “significant funding issues” faced by special, primary and secondary schools.

Mr Farquhar argues that despite a “detailed and factual campaign”, schools are no closer to being provided with any solutions to funding shortages.

He says the new funding formula ignores inflationary cost pressures faced by schools and, in real terms, funding per pupil will decrease by 6.5% by 2019.

The consultation for the new funding formula, which the Department of Education (DfE) says will end the postcode lottery in schools funding, finished yesterday (March 22).

In the letter, Mr Farquhar said: “Decisions being made by headteachers are no longer driven solely by what is best for students and their families.

“The key feature of our strategic work is frequently underscored by a sense of ‘damage limitation’. To make matters worse, we are also confronted by a chronic shortage of teachers in virtually every subject area.

“As responsible professionals, we all recognise that we are in challenging financial times and that schools must live within reasonable means.

“Difficult financial circumstances should not, however, be used as an excuse to short change our most important stakeholders – the children in our schools.

“We have no issue with a new formula that provides additional support for schools with the highest level of need, but all schools must be given enough money to fund adequate levels of staffing, care and essential equipment.”

Last month the Reporter featured Saffron Walden County High headteacher Caroline Derbyshire’s letter to Sir Alan, which called for action over “a fast approaching funding tsunami” for schools.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “We are going to end the historic postcode lottery in school funding and, under the proposed national schools funding formula, more than half of England’s schools will receive a cash boost.

“We are consulting schools, governors, local authorities and parents to make sure we get this formula right, so that every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact.”

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