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Funding cuts at North Yorkshire schools slammed
A PLANNED shake-up of school funding across North Yorkshire is “unjustified” and “unacceptable”, education bosses have said.
The school funding reforms by the Department For Education would reduce some schools’ budgets while raising others, but although North Yorkshire County Council has chosen what it calls the “least worst” option, it says this was still potentially damaging.
A report to go before the council executive next week criticises the plan, which would see a third of schools, responsible for about 49 per cent of North Yorkshire pupils, lose almost £7 million.
The report, prepared by Anton Hodge, the council’s assistant director of finance and management support, on behalf of Cynthia Welbourn, said: “While we would all welcome additional funding for schools, it was felt this was unjustified if that funding were to be taken from others – especially when there was no rationale other than the “simplicity” pioneered by the department.
“The Schools Forum and the County Council’s Executive Members, therefore, took the view that even this ‘least worst’ option was unacceptable and did not feel able to recommend it to schools.”
The Department for Education recently acknowledged there were issues with the changes, but councils are still set to make the changes from next April. The DfE said if they prove “unacceptable”, they will make adjustments in 2014.
Mr Hodge’s report said: “It does not appear reasonable for them to acknowledge, before implementation, that there are problems of a magnitude to justify review, and yet to press on with implementation.”
In the Selby area, Barlby High School will see its budget increase by just over £121,000, but Selby Community Primary School’s budget will be cut by £108,415 (10.6 per cent), Selby Abbey CE Primary School’s funding will be reduced by £91,530 and Barlby Primary School will receive £153,186 less, down 13.4 per cent.
A county council spokesman said overall funding was not being cut, rather the changes involved how the existing budget was shared out.
He said the authority was working with schools around the region to find the “least worst” outcome after the Government had effectively given it a “menu of choices” to fund schools, meaning it could no longer fund them in the same way.
The report will go before the council executive on Tuesday.