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Lengthy battle brings a cash boost for schools

Malvern Editorial 20th Mar, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

SCHOOLS across Herefordshire will be given an extra £2.6m a year following a Government announcement.

As part of the shake-up of how funding is allocated, each pupil in the county will receive an extra £124 – an increase of 2.9 per cent.

Historically, some schools have received less than others with the national average standing at £4,550 per pupil while in the county it is just £4,306.

Herefordshire Council has lobbied the Government for years through the F40 group and Coun Jeremy Millar, responsible for children’s services, joined colleagues from other poorly-funded authorities to meet ministers and MPs to discuss the impact of the inequality.

This followed a council motion in January which was passed and submitted to Michael Gove.

Coun Millar said: “We have fought long and hard to get the county’s school funding situation looked at and redress the existing imbalance.

“Although the Government’s announcement still leaves Herefordshire children receiving less than the national average, it is definitely a move in the right direction and is greatly welcomed.

“The detail still needs to be drawn up, but for Herefordshire schools this means an extra £2.6million a year, a significant amount which will be allocated to schools through the national school funding formula following consultation with schools in the autumn term.”

MP Bill Wiggin, who asked a question in the House of Commons on the issue said: “The Government’s right, Herefordshire has been underfunded for years under the last Labour Government. Since the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 it has been looking to address this problem.

“I am delighted that Herefordshire has been awarded this extra funding, this is exactly what I pressed the Prime Minister for when I lobbied him about Herefordshire’s funding problems before Christmas.”

The move is part of a £350million cash injection into some of the worst funded education authorities in the country, announced by schools minister David Laws.

He said addressing the distribution of funding between local authorities would pave the way for a new national funding formula, after the next Government spending review in 2015.

“This delivers fairness without creating instability, uncertainty or cuts. For the first time we’re delivering the uplifts that will make a real difference.”

But Labour accused the Government of leaving the cuts and the bad news until after the next General Election. However Mr Laws said it was right to wait for future budgets to be set before a decision was made.

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