Commenting on the Government’s announcement, Councillor Edgar said: “The Government’s consultation on a new National Funding Formula is generally good news – and is based around the principle of fairer funding for all schools using a single national funding formula.
“Hampshire schools currently receive the third lowest level of funding in the country, so I am pleased to see that the new proposals would potentially bring another £4.5 million into school budgets in the county. The proposals would also deliver another £9 million to meet the pressures we are facing around supporting pupils with special educational needs. All of that would be welcome.
“However, the devil is in the detail - which is what we are currently looking into. Early indications would suggest that the Department for Education has further work to do to ensure that the national funding formula ensures a fair distribution.
“Our concern lies in the potential impact to some of Hampshire’s smaller, mostly rural, schools, as well as those in areas of relative deprivation which look set to lose funding - and naturally, many are worried. Almost all schools with fewer than 200 pupils in Hampshire would lose some funding – with combined budgets reducing by nearly £2 million. Schools across two of Hampshire’s most deprived districts, Havant and Gosport, would be significantly affected – with Havant schools losing £1.1 million and Gosport £200,000.
“Up until now, the County Council has been able to use its discretion to the fullest extent, and with considerable success, to protect small schools and ensure funding best fits local needs - and we would be extremely worried if this flexibility was compromised. We will be making representations to Government accordingly. Government and Hampshire MPs are listening closely, which leaves us optimistic that the right outcome will prevail.”