Portsmouth City Council remains cautious over prime minister's pupil funding pledge

AFTER Boris Johnson pledged to ‘level up’ spending for school children, 22 of Portsmouth’s schools are hoping to benefit.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 6:56 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Under the current National Funding Formula there is large disparity in the money schools receive for each pupil. The prime minister’s pledge would see minimum per pupil funding rise from £3,500 to £4,000 in primary schools, and from £4,800 to £5,000 for secondary students.

Under the current proposal, many of the city's schools would be better off.

Analysis of school funding data showed that, of 48 primary schools in Portsmouth, 20 currently receive less than the promised £4,000 for each child. On average, each student at these schools gets £3,678, meaning the schools would receive an average boost of £322 per student.

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Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for education, Suzy Horton, has reacted with caution to the prime minister's pledge to increase pupil funding.

The analysis also suggested two out of nine secondary schools – Springfield School, £4,800 per pupil, and Admiral Lord Nelson School, £4,925, - currently fall short of the £5,000 promise.

However, while the prime minister made the pledge during his inaugural speech, he has not yet revealed any details as to how it is to be implemented.

Whilst the pledge has been welcomed by Portsmouth City Council it has also been met with caution until any specific policy is unveiled.

Cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, said: ‘The council welcomes any additional funding that can support our schools given the current budget pressures and the increasing demands that are being placed on schools. Based on the minimum funding levels quoted, 22 schools in the city would gain from this increase. However, at this stage there has been no clarification from the Department for Education as to whether the increase in minimum funding levels is moving funding from the teachers' pay and employers' pension grants into the baseline school budgets or if these grants will remain separate to main school funding in future years.

‘Whilst additional funding for mainstream schools would be very much welcomed, Portsmouth is seeing growing budgetary pressures on the support that is available to pupils with complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in both special schools and mainstream schools. Additional funding to support SEND is urgently needed to avoid future overspends.’