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New Money for Schools but will it be enough?

October 29, 2003 12:00 AM

Today the Department of Education and Skills announced its plans for funding schools over the next two years, a minimum increase of 4% per pupil, and a reversal in planned cuts in the 'Standards Fund'.

Cllr Richard Harker, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson on Leeds City Council said :- "This announcement is basically an admission by central government that they messed up funding for schools last year. Their promise of extra money to try and address some of the problems is welcome, but most schools can only expect to see an increase of 4% in funding per pupil. This is at a time when the DES's own estimate is that 'unavoidable cost pressures on the average school will increase by 3.4% next year'. So yet again they are trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes by announcing an increase in funding per pupil, when many schools will actually see a cut in their funding rather than a rise - indeed the DES admits "the number of primary schools with reduced cash budgets - and so possibly staff numbers - will be significant'".

"Overall in Leeds the number of pupils attending primary schools is expected to drop by 786 next year. A 4% increase in funding per pupil will only mean an increase of 3% in school budgets, so the average increase in Leeds will be less than the DES's own inflation figure of 3.4%. Many areas of the City can expect to see a reduction in the amount of money provided. Areas such as Whinmoor (7%), Swarcliffe, Cookridge and Osmondthorpe expect to see a drop in pupils of 5% or more, taking away any increase in funds. Schools faced with a drop in numbers will be again forced to cut staff and be unable to tackle key issues of curriculum development."

Note

Projections on the number of pupils in schools planning areas are taken from the 'Education Leeds' Draft School Organisation Plan for 2002-2007 (the revised plan produced this year did not include any projections for future years).

In addition to the areas listed above the following planning areas were forecast to see a drop of 4% in numbers : Belle Isle, Methley, Richmond Hill, Kippax, Woodhouse, Headingley, Farsley, Farnley and Bramley.