Many members of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) and others are clear that school funding is insufficient to deliver the excellent and sustainable education we all want. We want this to be prioritised in the forthcoming spending review.
However, a risk that focussing solely on quantum and an auction for funds misses the main point of looking at where we need funds. It also fails to recognise the changes which the national funding formula (NFF) will bring to the system.
Therefore, CST is today launching an online tool which shows the three-year funding trajectory from the baseline NFF year of 2017-18.
This tool aims to do two things:
- Provide an authoritative source of information for school leaders to support strategic financial planning; and
- Give indicative funding allocations for 2019-20 using NFF allocations.
We hope this will bring evidence and rigour to the debate by showing the core funding for all schools to 2019-20. The information within the tool is publicly available from the Department for Education but we hope that presenting it online, searchable by school, will make it easier for schools to plan. It makes no comment or judgement on the data provided, and does not show cost pressures on schools.
The online tool can be found here:
CST is also releasing a funding policy paper today making the case for where in our view the greatest case is for strategic additional investment. CST is also publishing guidance on integrated curriculum financial planning (ICFP) for executive and governance leaders. It gives advice to schools or school trusts and sets out different models and approaches, without taking a view on a preferred model or approach.
CST is making the evidence-based case for strategic investment (additional funding) through the Comprehensive Spending Review in five specific ways:
- The National Funding Formula: set out a timeline for passing legislation to implement the National Funding Formula so that all schools are funded equitably and make funding available to manage the transition to the new formula.
- Investment in per-pupil funding: consolidate the teacher pay and pensions grants into the Schools Block of the NFF, increase the quantum at least to match spending per pupil in 2015/16 and commit to keep per-pupil funding in line with inflation and cost-pressures.
- Special needs funding: increase the quantum of the high needs block – and ring-fence the high needs funding allocation for schools.
- Post-16 education: increase the rate of post-16 funding.
- Capacity building: secure funding for strategic investment to build academy trust capacity to grow the right school trusts in the right places and incentivise spin-out trusts. No school can be left behind.