Schools in poorer areas ‘to lose out on pupil funding’

Posted in Branch news

2 August 2019

Schools in the wealthiest areas would benefit the most from funding pledges, the EPI said.
Almost all schools in Britain’s most disadvantaged areas would miss out on extra money under the prime minister’s promise to “level up” pupil funding.

Schools at present receive different amounts of per-pupil support depending on how deprived its area is classed. During the Conservative leadership campaign Boris Johnson said all primary schools would in future get at least £4,000 per pupil and secondary schools £5,000.

An analysis from the Education Policy Institute think tank (EPI) found that the pledge would cost about £590 million for primary schools and £150 million for secondary schools, more than double the total suggested by the prime minister.

However it is the schools in the wealthiest areas that would receive a boost, the EPI said.
“Schools with less challenging intakes would benefit the most — those with low levels of disadvantaged pupils, schools that are serving affluent communities, those without large numbers of pupils with low prior attainment and those with few pupils for whom English is not their first language,” it said.

Primary schools with the least disadvantaged intakes (less than 5 per cent) eligible for free school meals would see an average increase of £271 per pupil. Most of England’s 163 grammar schools would also benefit under the proposal, with an average increase in school budgets of more than £130,000.

Schools in London and the northeast of England would benefit least, the EPI said. Jon Andrews, EPI’s deputy head of research, said: “The prime minister’s drive to level up school funding implies that funding should be equal despite the fact that children’s circumstances and opportunities are anything but.

“This approach would disproportionately direct additional funding towards the least disadvantaged schools with the least-challenging intakes at a time when progress in closing the attainment gap has stalled and may be about to go into reverse.”