Resort schools’ cash boost

Blackpool schools are expected to get extra cash.
Blackpool schools are expected to get extra cash.
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Blackpool’s schools could be set to get an extra £1.3m to spend in a bid to tackle an historic “postcode lottery”.

The Government has announced a £350m boost for the most underfunded local authorities, which includes Blackpool, in order to set a minimum funding level.

Paul Maynard-MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Paul Maynard-MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

The amount to be received will be based on numbers of pupils and the proportions who are from poor households, have low attainment levels when starting school, have been in or are in care or speak English as a second language.

The final amount Blackpool schools stand to gain is yet to be finalised, with the £1.3m figure based on historic 2013/14 data, to be recalculated for the next academic year based on pupil data reported in the October 2014 census.

But the announcement has already been welcomed by Conservative MP Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

He said: “This announcement is great news for Blackpool North and Cleveleys as it represents a huge step towards removing the unfairness in the school funding system.

“The school funding system that we inherited from Labour is unfair.

“It is a postcode lottery that results in pupils attracting very different levels of funding without good reason. As part of our long-term economic plan we are determined to deliver the best schools and skills for our young people so that they can get the skills they need to get on in life.”

Announcing the extra £350m, schools minister David Laws told the Commons: “This will be the first time in a decade that funding has been allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending.”

Mr Laws said that the additional cash, available for 2015/16, aims to help address funding disparities which in the past has seen similar schools in different areas funded at differing levels.

He insisted that no school or local authority will lose cash because of the new funding proposals, with around four in 10 areas gaining from the plans.

The Government says the new minimum funding level will be based on five pupil characteristics: a basic per pupil amount; pupils who are from deprived backgrounds; pupils who have been looked after; pupils with low attainment before starting at either their primary or secondary school; and pupils who speak English as an additional language.

Mr Laws also told the Commons that the Government will set a minimum lump sum for each school on top of its per-pupil funding and a minimum funding level for small schools that are essential to serving rural areas.

No-one from Blackpool Council was available for comment.