Labour councillors are calling on the Conservative government to change plans which will see Rotherham schools lose out on nearly £840,000 of funding this year.
Councillor Victoria Cusworth, Labour’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, has written to the Education Secretary to demand changes after it emerged that changes to the way that Pupil Premium funding is calculated will cost Rotherham schools dearly.
Until now, the funding has been based on the number of eligible children on roll at a school in the month of January. However, from this year it will be based on the figure from the previous October, often when fewer free school meals children were claiming their entitlement.
Estimates produced by Rotherham Council suggest that more than 100 local schools – the overwhelming majority – will see cuts to their funding as a result. Amongst the biggest losers are thought to be Maltby Crags Community School which could lose nearly £35,000, St Ann’s Junior and Infant School which could lose £32,000 and Thornhill Primary which could lose £20,000.
Overall, local primary schools are expected to lose about £700,000, special schools £10,000, and secondary schools £127,000.
More than a quarter of a million pounds will be lost by schools in the Rother Valley constituency, represented by Conservative MP Alexander Stafford.
The news comes just weeks after the National Audit Office revealed that average per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools fell in real terms by 1.2%, while per-pupil funding in the least deprived fifth increased by 2.9% between 2017/18 and 2020/21. In total, 58.3% of the most deprived fifth of schools saw a real-terms decrease in per-pupil funding over the time period.
Cllr Cusworth said;
“After all the incredibly hard work that our teachers put in over the last year and a half, dealing with covid and the incredible pressures that came with it, it is unbelievable that the Conservative government is rewarding them with further cuts. The Tories need to make good this difference in funding as a priority, and give our teachers and pupils the support that they need.
“The Conservatives have protected spending on local services the most in the most affluent areas for the last decade. They have increased funding for schools in the most affluent areas and cut it in real terms in the poorest. And with this latest cut they will impact on some of the schools with the poorest families. For all their bluster about levelling up, once again it’s clear that the Conservatives won’t give Rotherham a fair deal.”
The Tories need to make good this difference in funding as a priority, and give our teachers and pupils the support that they need. Cllr Cusworth