Concerns grow for Sleaford schools’ funding with two academies set to lose £1m each in next three years

Vice-principal Claire Adams and principal Wayne Birks outside the Ruskington campus building. EMN-170424-183140001
Vice-principal Claire Adams and principal Wayne Birks outside the Ruskington campus building. EMN-170424-183140001

Figures revealed by the National Union of Teachers show huge funding shortfalls to Lincolnshire school budgets with one Sleaford academy looking set to lose up to £1.1m over the next three years and the county council warning some schools could be left in a ‘vulnerable position’.

Drawing upon calculations on teacher union website, the NUT says the figures show that Government funding policy means schools in Lincolnshire will be just short of £45million worse off by 2019/20 than they were in 2015/16.

The website compares each school’s funding in 2015-16 with the funding the Government predicts it will receive in 2019-20 under its proposed new National Funding Formula (NFF), adjusted for the impact of inflation and cost increases imposed on schools.

Worst hit appears to be St George’s Academy, with its sites in Sleaford and Ruskington, set to lose £1,145,147 between 2016 and 2020.

Wayne Birks, principal at St George’s said: “Lincolnshire schools are particularly vulnerable because of the low levels of funding currently received compared to other areas of the country and there is real concern of the potential impact of cuts on standards, staffing and levels of provision.

“The funding crisis facing schools is now a real and regular feature of national news headlines but since the new funding formula has not been finalised, we will have to wait, probably until after the General Election, before we can fully evaluate the impact of any further planned changes to school incomes.”

Carre’s Grammar School is set to lose £447,808 over the next three years and Kesteven and Sleaford High School would lose £431,556.

Nick Law, head of the Robert Carre Trust, said earlier this year that Carre’s and the Kesteven and Sleaford High School were still receiving the same amount per student as three to four years ago, but costs are going up all the time.

Debbie Barnes, Director of Children’s Services at the county council, added that Lincolnshire is already one of the worse funded school local authority areas, saying: “We need to ensure that all our schools have a core budget to deliver full-time, high quality education in appropriate class sizes. I’m deeply concerned that the current proposals will not enable our schools to do this and leave some in a vulnerable position.”

A Department for Education spokesperson claimed under the proposed funding formula schools in Lincolnshire would receive an extra £16.2 million per year with the government protecting the national core schools budget and school funding set to rise to £42 billion by 2019-20.

But she said the system for distributing that funding across the country was unfair and outdated. She said: “It is clear that there is broad consensus on the need for a fairer funding formula to bring an end to the historic post code lottery in school funding.”

She said they were consulting with schools, governors, local authorities and parents to make sure they get the formula right. “We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide support to help them use their funding in cost effective ways.”