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City schools welcome extra cash for pupils

Worcester Editorial 19th Mar, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

SCHOOLS across the city are to get a share of an extra £5million to boost education in Worcestershire.

Proposals put forward by schools minister David Laws last Thursday (March 13) mean – for the first time in a decade – schools in Worcester will be funded on the basis of the needs of their pupils rather than historic levels of spending.

The move is part of a £350million cash injection into some of the country’s worst funded education authorities, which includes Worcestershire.

The extra money will be allocated in April 2015 and Worcester MP Robin Walker, who is a vice chairman of the f40 campaign, which has been pushing for a fairer deal since the 1990s, said the announcement was a ‘huge step forward’.

“This is one of the key issues on which I have based my parliamentary career,” he said.

“But it isn’t the end of the campaign. Worcestershire schools have a lot more to look forward to as the Government introduces fairer funding.

“It is the right thing to do and it will help pupils, teachers and schools across the whole country who have suffered for too long from a unfair system.

“For years we have been winning the argument but it has taken a long time to translate words into pounds and pence. £350 million is real delivery on this issue.”

The additional cash is on top of the pupil premium, which gives schools extra money to support disadvantaged children, which is rising to £1,300 for primary school children and £935 in secondary schools.

Worcestershire will still receive about £800 less than neighbouring schools in Birmingham, but Mr Laws said addressing the distribution of funding between local authorities would pave the way for a new national funding formula after the next government spending review in 2015.

“This delivers fairness without creating instability, uncertainty or cuts,” he said. “For the first time we’re delivering the uplifts that will make a real difference.”

Neil Morris, headteacher at Christopher Whitehead Language College, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the news but he felt the move was 20 years too late.

“I previously worked in a school in Longbridge, Birmingham which was almost identical to the school I am working at now, but for the last 20 years they have had £900,000 more money,” he said.

“I am absolutely delighted that we will get some money and we will spend it wisely, but for the last 20 years Worcestershire children have been going backwards in terms of money which has been put into their education, which is an absolutely scandal as they could have done with that support.”

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