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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Extra £6.7m boost for Cumbria's schools

Cumbria is getting a share of £350 million to ensure no school loses out as the Government changes the way they are funded.

Ministers are to proposing to give a further £6.7m to Cumbria County Council in April 2015, the equivalent of an extra £111 per pupil.

It will take the total the council will receive for its schools budget to £275.9m – up 2.5 per cent on what was originally expected.

It is part of a Government effort to ensure all councils meet a new minimum level of spending on pupils in the short term as it looks to reform the school funding system.

The Government says it wants to make the national system fairer, simpler and more transparent but there have been criticisms that changes so far make it inflexible, unfair to small schools and give councils less leeway in how they allocate cash to schools.

Schools minister David Laws made the announcement yesterday.

He said: “For too long, the school funding system has been based on historical data that was out of date and no longer reflected pupils’ needs. This has resulted in a system that is opaque, overly complex, and is frankly unfair to pupils, parents and teachers.

Sometimes similar schools just miles apart can be funded at very different levels, just because they happen to be in different local authority areas.

“In other cases, schools with many disadvantaged pupils can end up being funded at a level well below a nearby school in an affluent catchment. “

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council told the News & Star: “We welcome this additional funding and will ensure that it is allocated so it has the maximum positive impact.”

“We’ll be working to feed it into schools rapidly for the benefit of pupils across Cumbria.”

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