I’m on the war path! Children in Hornsey and Wood Green are getting less funding per head from the Government than children in neighbouring boroughs – even though the cost of teaching them is the same!
It’s all because the Government uses different rules for costs and for funding – causing a £736.00 gap for each child every year. What happens is that our local schools are classified as ‘inner London’ when it comes to costs like teachers’ wages. But when it comes to Government funding to help pay them – then our schools get classified as ‘outer London’ – which brings a lower level of funding than if they were ‘inner London’.
It should be a matter of common sense to use the same rules for both costs and funding – but as the Government doesn’t, local schools have to find a way to deal with that £736.00 gap. No matter how excellent the teachers, other staff and heads are – and many, many locally are just that – they can’t do as good a job as they could if it wasn’t for that £736.00 gap for every child every year.
I know from the trail of desperate parents to my surgery door how important education is to local people. The first week in September will see scores of parents whose children will not have got their first, second or third choice of school.In some cases this leads to the absurd situation of parents being able to see the school from their house but not seen their children there as the catchment area is so small.
If our area had more funding for education, perhaps we could not only have better education but also expand schools to make pupils more likely to get the school of their choice.The outdated system of inner and outer London completely fails to deal with the realities of our area.Is it right that Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster pupils get more than a Haringey child?Greater ‘revenue’ from the government in the form of higher per pupil allocation would give that extra boast to allow proper planning for school places.
It is a little known fact that pupils in Haringey are only guaranteed a school place in year 1 and year 7.That means if you move into the area in any other year and that year group is full, then there is simply no place for your child.I believe this is currently the case with year 10 in Haringey schools.This in effect means that if you happened to move into the area and your child was due to go into year 10 your child will be given part-time tutoring until a place comes free.This is the bare legal minimum of an education and hardly the proper educational environment that will see our children flourish.And we wonder why social mobility has slowed down?When you take into consideration facts like this – it makes you realise how wrong this bizarre education funding system is – and what raw deal we get given, and what some children are having to put up with.
Obviously when this government says that every child matters they mean some children matter more than others. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Schools, Ed Balls, to put Hornsey & Wood Green’s case. I await his response. I am also seeking a meeting with him to press home how unfair this situation is to the education of children here in Hornsey & Wood Green.
(c) Lynne Featherstone, 2007