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‘Hackney’s schools deserve greater transparency over national funding formula’

PUBLISHED: 18:52 18 September 2017

Hackney Cllr Antoinette Bramble on the march against funding cuts to education in London Fields.

Hackney Cllr Antoinette Bramble on the march against funding cuts to education in London Fields.

Catherine Davison

The government needs to have greater transparency if it plans to improve the funding picture for schools across Hackney, according to the borough’s deputy mayor.

Education secretary Justine Greening unveiled the details of the new national funding formula last week, with schools getting an increase of 0.5 per cent per pupil from the next school year, and a 1pc increase from 2019-20.

However, due to inflation pressures, Labour MPs have pointed out that the funding formula still represents a “real term cut in school budgets”.

In a reform she described as “historic” and one that addressed the “inequities in funding that have existed for far too long”, Ms Greening is increasing the basic level of funding to at least £4,800 per pupil at secondary schools in England, as announced in July, and £3,500 per pupil at primaries.

Under the government’s original proposals for the formula, revealed in December, funding for Hackney schools would have been cut by £25million by 2019/20. This translated to £914 less per pupil – or 692 fewer teachers across the borough.

It sparked a wave of protests in Hackney and in July, headteachers and governors from 50 schools signed a joint letter from Cllr Bramble and mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville calling on Ms Greening to reconsider her proposals.

Despite welcoming the extra cash for schools, Cllr Bramble said the announcement did not make clear what happens after 2019-20, or what will be cut from the Department for Education’s budget to fund the extra £2.6bn promised by Ms Greening.

“It’s reassuring that the government listened to councils, teachers, parents and children in places like Hackney which would have been devastated by its original, ill thought-out reform to the national funding formula,” Cllr Bramble said.

“Hackney is a fantastic example of how you can improve educational standards, and the life chances of children, through proper investment and a long-term strategy.”

But Cllr Bramble, who has campaigned at anti-cuts rallies in Hackney, stressed that she would be “clear and vocal” in her opposition should the borough’s schools suffer long-term cuts.

“We remain firmly of the view that any reduction to schools funding in Hackney is wholly unacceptable and would jeopardise the borough’s record of improving educational standards,” she said.

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