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Education & Young People

SIGOMA calls on the Government to:

  • Recognise the consequences of under funding on education performance and the ongoing impact on overall skills and economic performance
  • Establish a minimum entitlement to adequately support all pupils
  • Target additional resources to those most in need
  • Recognise the crucial role of the local authority in delivering the Children’s agenda

The future of our communities rests with our children, and so delivery of the Children’s agenda is at the heart of both central and local government priorities. Whilst significant increases in education funding have been provided in recent years, there is still work to be done to ensure that these resources reach the children whose needs are greatest. In the past, changes to the formula used to distribute education resources did improve the way that need was recognised and defined. But these changes have never been fully implemented.

Local Authorities have therefore struggled to deliver the improvements they would like to achieve. In addition, the majority of SIGOMA areas also do not have the capacity to raise additional resources locally for education spending.

SIGOMA was therefore disappointed that the Government decided to take schools funding out of the mainstream grant, so that schools now receive their funding directly from central government. This backward step in the devolution of power has resulted in:

     - Funding being based on past spend rather than need
     - Local authorities no longer able to determine where local resources are to be spent and,
     - Little financial support at the local level to help implement major initiatives such as Building Schools for the Future

Dedicated Schools Grant

The allocation of the dedicated schools grant (DSG) is currently being reviewed with a view to a new formula being introduced from 2011. Since 2006/07, DSG has been separate from all other local authority funding and paid as a ring fenced grant.

The grant is currently calculated on a "spend plus" methodology, basing current allocations on what local authorities planned to spend in 2005/06, a method that is unsustainable, inequitable and “locks in” existing disparities. The review aims to develop a single transparent formula for the distribution of DSG, which distributes resources in line with relative need, recognising the different costs of educating particular groups of pupils and providing education in different areas.

The problems facing SIGOMA authorities have not gone away. Despite a steady upward trend in pupil attainment within our schools, attainment levels still lag behind others, with SIGOMA authorities having the lowest percentage of pupils achieving 5 GCSE passes including mathematics and English.

Percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*-C GCSE passes including mathematics and English

Region Percentage achieving 5+ A*-C
North East46.3
North West49.3
Yorkshire and The Humber46.1
East Midlands46.8
West Midlands46.9
East of England50.7
South East51.4
South West49.3

Based on current annual increases our forecast indicates that overall our areas will not reach the Government target of some 53% until 2017, some six years later than the Government intends.

The lack of directed funding for education and schools hinders the progress being made to close the educational gaps and compounds the cycle of underachievement that impacts on the social and economic difficulties that our communities face.

The figures speak for themselves, with funding for SIGOMA authorities significantly lagging behind our counterparts in London. A school child in SIGOMA receives:

     - £345 less than a pupil in Outer London
     - £1467 less than a pupil in Inner London

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