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School Funding in Tonbridge and Malling

Volume 624: debated on Monday 24 April 2017

The petition of residents of Tonbridge and Malling,

Declares that schools in Tonbridge and Malling will remain underfunded under both the current and proposed funding plans.

The petitioners therefore urge the House of Commons to note their objections to the funding formula for schools in Tonbridge and Malling.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Tom Tugendhat, Official Report, 29 March 2017; Vol. 624, c. 370.]


Observations from The Secretary of State for Education (Mr Nick Gibb):

The Government have protected the core schools budget since 2010. This year, in 2017-18, it is the largest ever on record, at almost £41 billion.

There is consensus that the current system for distributing school funding is unfair. It is based on data that is a decade or more out of date, and, as a result, similar local areas and schools receive very different levels of funding with little or no justification. The petitioners are correct that, overall, schools in Tonbridge and Malling currently attract comparatively low levels of funding.

The Government recently consulted on detailed proposals to introduce a national funding formula for schools from April 2018. A national funding formula would calculate schools’ funding allocations consistently and transparently, based on their pupils’ characteristics.

In the consultation, we published a significant amount of data to illustrate the impact of the proposals. If they wish to, petitioners can access this data to see how the budgets for schools in their area, and all schools in England, would be affected by the proposed formula. These figures are illustrative, and show the funding schools would have received if the formula had been introduced in 2016-17, in full and without transitional protections, compared to the actual funding schools received in that year.

For schools in the Kent County Council area, the published figures show an overall increase in funding of over £29.5 million, with increases for 351 individual schools. In the Tonbridge and Malling constituency, 29 schools would gain, with an overall increase of almost £1.5 million.

The national funding formula proposals include transitional protections to limit reductions to manageable levels for those schools whose funding would reduce. We have proposed to provide continued protection through the minimum funding guarantee, which limits year-on-year reductions to 1.5% per pupil. In addition, we proposed an overall floor that would limit total reductions to 3% per pupil as a result of the formula.

We received over 25,000 responses to the consultation, which we are analysing in detail. We are grateful to all those who expressed their views on school funding and the proposed formula as part of this process. We will publish the Government’s response in due course.