Original article from Kent Live
Several schools in Kent have seen their per-pupil funding fall in the last year, despite government promises.
Official government figures reveal that 15 state-funded primary schools in Kent and Medway are getting less money per pupil for the 2020/21 academic year than they did for 2019/20.
A further 56 primary and secondary schools across Kent and Medway saw a funding increase of less than 1.84 per cent, which was the rate of inflation – meaning they've seen a real-terms cut.
Allhallows Primary Academy in Medway saw the biggest drop, with per-pupil funding falling from £4,531 to £4,418.
When asked about school funding last year, a Department for Education spokesperson said “every school in the country will see per pupil funding rise at least in line with inflation next year… with the biggest increases going to the schools that need it most.”
However, these latest figures show that has not been the case – with the government laying the blame with local authorities.
The National Education Union has also said that recent increases to minimum levels of funding have actually benefited schools that have less need, while those with the most need have lost out.
Use our interactive widget to explore funding for your school – and see how this compares both locally and nationally:
There are huge differences in the amount of money state schools receive per pupil, even between those in the same area.
In theory, the way funding is allocated is based on the needs of individual schools and their pupils, but the NEU says the system is unfair.
The figures show that 59 state primary schools in Kent and Medway are receiving the minimum amount of funding per pupil for the 2020/21 academic year, which is £3,750.
In comparison, Goodnestone Church of England Primary School, a small voluntary controlled school, is receiving £7,257 per pupil – 94 per cent more.
Meanwhile, 38 state secondary schools are receiving the minimum amount of funding for this level of education, which is £5,000 per pupil.
The Ebbsfleet Academy gets the most at £7,804 per pupil, or 56 per cent more.
These figures exclude specialist SEN schools, as these are funded differently to other schools.
It includes both maintained schools, which are overseen by the local authority, and academies, which operate independently and receive their funding directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
Generally, funding is made up of a basic lump sum that all schools of that level are entitled to, plus funding on top of that based on the number of pupils, and extra money for pupils with additional needs – such as those living in deprivation.
The government has said that the reason some schools have received less than a 1.84 per cent increase in funding is because councils still have some discretion in allocating funding under the current system.
The Department for Education has highlighted that these only represent a tiny proportion of schools, and said they will have specific features that affect their funding allocation.
In most cases they will have non-standard year group structures, so are receiving different minimum amounts for primary and secondary year groups. Other cases may include schools that are only open for part of the year.
A DfE spokesperson said: “The national funding formula is a fairer way of targeting funding to schools, making sure every school attracts at least £5,150 funding for each secondary student, and £4,000 for each primary pupil from next year and directing more funding to those who have historically had less.
“Schools are receiving a £14.4 billion funding boost in total over the three year period through to 2022-23 compared with 2019 – giving every school more money for every child.”
The full table – schools to have seen a drop in funding
School Name // Allocation per pupil 2019/20 // Allocation per pupil 2020/21
Allhallows Primary Academy // £4,531 // £4,418
Cherry Orchard Primary Academy // £3,917 // £3,874
Langley Park Primary Academy // £3,791 // £3,750
Worth Primary School // £5,133 // £5,091
Northbourne Church of England Primary School // £4,073 // £4,043
Gordons Children's Academy, Infant // £4,027 // £3,999
Phoenix Junior Academy // £4,945 // £4,916
Langdon Primary School // £4,644 // £4,624
Finberry Primary School // £4,027 // £4,010
Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes // £4,161 // £4,144
Riverside Primary School // £3,987 // £3,975
Shipbourne School // £5,495 // £5,484
Brenzett Church of England Primary School // £5,388 // £5,381
Laddingford St Mary's Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School // £4,863 // £4,860