Bournemouth Schools Funding

Funding Summary

Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker

13th March 2010

FW: Epiphany School - Funding - enquiries from the public

Mr, Goddard,

Thank you for the attachment on the various funding allocations to Bournemouth Schools and details of which you say was reached by the Schools Forum, notice you say that the funding gap in Bournemouth was not out of line with our statistical neighbours, would be interested in receiving such information, more so as it compares to minimum funding per pupil.

Your e-mail seems to suggests that council officers influence the formula only in so as they provide a; Schools Forum: with advice. from that I presume it is the Forum that controls the funding formula, so is it that group who one blames for the clear anomalies ,such as the case from Epiphany School., this forum being made up from head teachers,school staff, governors and early years providers, note that no Borough councillors don't seems to be represented on this body? more so, since I would have thought that deciding on the extent of differential that should be paid between schools is fundamentally a political decision given its highly subjective and clearly now contentious nature, more so at now looking at the formula that once again Epiphany has been allocated £2,698.67 for 2010/11, again a max per pupil £4,569.56,min £2.698.67: difference £1870.89, as was pointed out in Dave Simpson e-mail 4th March, the school and other Church of England primaries no doubt that assurances were seems to have been given at a meeting of the Head Teachers that an INDEPENDENT REVIEW, and i mean Independent review of the funding formula would be set up, this now does NOT it seems to have been the case here for this financial year, WHY NOT.

This formula has this year shows that difference between the best and worse funded schools has show little movement from the past year, this being a Difference of £2383.03, looking at the worse of the funded schools see that Epiphany is followed by St, Katherine £2,717.57, St James £2,740.48, then Muscliff £2,826.45, interesting to notes the number of Primaries below the Minimum funding per pupil, i.e. £3000.

So my question arises over how members of the forum are selected and appointed to ENSURE that all views are going to be fully representative of all interested parties, as shown by the many emails and Epiphany that they do not believe this to be the case.

Who represents the case for the worst per pupil funded schools in the Borough, ??.

What I do require please is the general factors which determine the differential per pupil funding between schools and a very detailed breakdown of HOW THE EPIPHANY'S £2698.67 a year per pupil funding has been arrived at, here again the same breakdown for St Katherine's, St. James and Muscliff, this to be shown against similarly detailed workings of the primary school receiving £5,081.70.

What I cannot understand is why this authority do not set a minimum or floor level of funding for every child in the Borough, this being based on Minimum of £3000.

Finally as I and other have clearly STATED in past e-mails, one fully understands that a case for additional funds to address specific issues, and why funds at different levels to provide schools with falling rolls, catchment area, SEN, and schools that have a high number of children with free school meals etc yes extra resources needed. BUT IT IS THE EXTENT OF THAT GAP BETWEEN THE WORSE OF FUNDED TO THE BEST.

That is why Epiphany and other are calling for the independent review of the way the formula has been worked out.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Neil Goddard - Service Director, Children’s Strategic Services to the 3 Ward Councillors

12th March 2010

Epiphany School - Funding - enquiries from the public

Cllr Whittaker,

Please find attached a summary of the allocations that have been made to schools for the financial year 2010/11.

This includes total funding for 2009/10 and 10/11, pupil numbers for both years and on that basis a calculation of funding per pupil.

As set out in the letter below, the funding formula is set by the Schools Forum which is made up of representative Heads, Governors, school staff and early years providers,. The Forum have reviewed the per pupil funding gap on a number of occasions and taken action to ensure that this does not increase unduly. This is based on great deal of analysis that has been undertaken that shows the causes of the funding gap, as set out in the letter in summary, the impact of changing the relative schools funding and the position in other Councils. The information provided to the forum most recently, based on 2008/09 figures, showed the funding gap in Bournemouth was not out of line with our statistical neighbours, and that the amount received by our lowest funded school per pupil was higher than the average of the lowest funded schools in those Councils.

We have a great deal of information relating to this issue that I am happy to share with you if it would be useful, all of which has been presented to the Schools Forum as part of its considerations.

To clarify the role of the Council in setting the formula; the Council is statutorily required to consult with the Schools Forum and have regard for their advice. In Bournemouth we have always implemented the formula as recommended by the Schools Forum and have encouraged their ownership of it. They are a representative group, with members being selected by the group they represent through consensus or ballot. Officers attend in support of the meeting and provide advice and guidance, and the portfolio holder for Children and Families Services is invited as an observer. Any school may attend the forum meetings and, with the permission of the chair, speak to raise issues in respect of the Forums work.

I hope the letter we have sent parents sets out the position with regard to the funding formula. The issues they have highlighted should be raised at the Schools Forum through the school or their representatives. The forum can then respond to any detailed points based on their consideration of the data they have been presented as part of the decision making process. The next meeting of the Forum is in April and I have agreed with the chair that this item will be on the agenda again for further consideration.

I hope this is a useful summary, if you would like anymore detailed information please do contact me.

Neil Goddard

Service Director - Children’s Strategic Services

Bournemouth Borough Council