Fair Funding for Haringey Schools

I went with a Haringey deputation to meet with Lord Hill – the Schools Minister last week. In the deputation were: Cllr Lorna Reith (Haringey Executive Member for Children’s Services), David Lammy, Tottenham MP, Peter Lewis, Director of Children’s Services at Haringey and Tony Brockman from Haringey NUT.

This was a timely plea to the Government to push our case for the outcome of the two options in the recently completed consultation on funding formulas for our schools to be the ‘Hybrid’ option. To all those locally who know how long and how hard I and the Liberal Democrats have campaigned against Labour’s long standing unfair funding to Haringey – you know how important this is.

Apart from our usual LibDem petitions and email list – we were at the school gates getting people to respond to the consultation by the then Labour Government on funding. (A consultation they had been forced into by our campaign and others around the country where the unfairness in funding was now putting schools into deficit – and denying the children in those areas the teachers they needed). And clearly – the people in Haringey responded splendidly – with something like 1500 people letting the the new government know exactly how unfair the old Labour funding formula was and how much we need that money in Haringey with all the challenges we have.  It had clearly been noted – the depth and volume of feeling from parents and teachers and all in Haringey!

In Haringey our children get £1300 less per head than neighbouring boroughs like Camden, Islington and Hackney. When I met the previous government Minister on this very outrageous inequality – even he admitted that Haringey with its £1300 diferential was the worst ‘cliffedge’ (difference between close neighbours) in the county.

Obviously – the new coalition government’s ‘pupil premium’ in the coalition agreement – where £2.5 billion will come on stream starting in the second year of government – and where the money follows the pupil with special needs or on free school meals (and which will benefit every single school in Haringey) will be a blessing. However, that will bring us in a lot of money – but equally it will bring money into those boroughs like Camden and Hackney too.

So first off I wanted to make sure that when that money comes on stream from the ‘pupil premium’ – Haringey is first in line for it! However, the meat of this meeting was about the results of the consultation on the funding formula – the funding formula that has for so long underfunded Haringey.

The ‘hybrid’ option will close some of the gap in our funding. We are £35million adrift every single year. The ‘hybrid’ option will move us half way towards closing the gap (estimate only).

We each made the case – very well I thought. And it was well-received. Lord Hill clearly got the message and the timing of this deputation was perfect as the decision is about to be made. He did seem receptive. So the case was well made – and now we have to keep everything crossed that we get our funding!

0 thoughts on “Fair Funding for Haringey Schools

  1. Okay, so education is devolved to the Scottish Parliament where I am concerned but you only have to look towards the complete and utter failure of the LibDems/SNP coalition here in Edinburgh to know that you can never, ever trust a Liberal Democrat with anything in relation to education!

  2. nor can you trust SNP I must add but then you guys down South are very lucky indeed not to have Alec Salmond et al !

  3. So, the first target for spending cuts has been identified by the ConDems: School building and improvement projects. The first attack on education comes, therefore, from Govenment, not the council …

  4. Ahh, so Michael Gove now says it’s unavoidable for frontline services NOT to be hit.
    700 schools thoughout the country will now not be rebuilt. Kids will be taught in terrible conditions, damp classrooms and leaking roofs.
    He says it’s because ‘we’ can’t afford it.

    I hope Lynne Featherstone will mention that either an extra 0.4% on capital gains tax or an extra 0.0007% on the bank levy would happily pay for it.
    Afterall, our MP did say that education would be protected as one of her pledges!

  5. Please remember, Lynne Featherstone is a government minister and a millionaire. The present 29-strong cabinet contains 23 millionaires. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/election/article-1280554/The-coalition-millionaires-23-29-member-new-cabinet-worth-1m–Lib-Dems-just-wealthy-Tories.html)
    So the idea of her going to “Lord” Hill to plead for extra money for Haringay schools is ridiculous and patronising.
    Lynne, please stop taking us all for complete fools.

  6. The support for education is a very good cause and I am sure that Harringay will get the rewards of your hard work, I hope the fight goes on across the other areas such as the West Midlands and the North East these areas also need support and assistance with regard to education.

  7. I know there must be cut backs but we also need to be mindful of the importance of the environment ( including bricks and mortar) on our services. This is particularly the case in education.

    To promote dignity and repsect we need pride, and the pride in our environment is important to us.

  8. Here’s a story from one of our local papers. The old Lib Dem Lynne supported schoolchildren in Haringey, for example, through the Fairer Funding campaign, but new Tory Lynne is part of the Government which is set to take £8.57m away from our primary schools.

    Primary school places in Haringey under threat
    9:29am Wednesday 7th July 2010

    FEARS are mounting that a £8.57 million budget cut earmarked for expansion of Haringey’s primary schools could throw the plans in jeopardy.

    As part of the coalition Government’s reigning in of public spending, Haringey will no longer receive funding that would have played a major role in plans to create more primary school places.

    Many of the borough’s schools are at maximum capacity and the population is still growing.

    Council leader Claire Kober has now written to education secretary Michael Gove, after two meetings to discuss the removal of funding were cancelled by Department of Education officials at the last minute.

    In her letter, Ms Kober wrote: “The decision, and inability to clarify, despite our repeated requests, is a barrier to the council’s prudent planning for primary school places in the borough.”

    She addded: “This is causing a significant amount of anxiety amongst our parents, teachers and governors – as projects we have developed to meet the demand are now at risk.”

    She closed the letter with a call for an urgent meeting between department and council officials to resolve the situation.

    Demand for reception places is projected to rise from 3,059 this year to 3,478 by 2020 – significantly outstripping the 3,131 places expected to be available by 2020 if no further capacity is created.

  9. yes lynne. when are you going to make a statement about the withdrawal of funds for the expansion plans for primary schools in haringey? You backed the expansion plans, so I assume you are going to campaign against the removal of the funding for the plans? Where are the reception classes going to be taught? Answers please.

  10. Remarkable how quiet Featherstone has been now her coallition government is pulling funding for local schools. Wonder how all the Lib Dems coming out to support her in the election feel now that their kids schools could be faced with portacabins in the playground. Time to talk about the hard stuff not just the fluffy politics she’s so fond of.

  11. The £8.75 million ‘taken away from primary schools in Haringey’ – was taken away by the Labour government before the election. I have been trying to help the local council get the money re-instated. So – attack me for what I have done – not something that was withdrawn by Labour.

    And the campaign for fair funding is about non-capital funding – ie teachers. For more than a decade Labour kept quiet about Labour’s underfunding of our schools – it was only when I started campaigning for fair funding having discovered the funding gap figures from a parliamentary question that Labour in Haringey suddenly joined in.

    I am willing to take the flack for things the coalition does – but the taking away of primary school building funding was Labour.

  12. Lynne, you say you are willing to ‘take the flack’ for the coalition. Why are you? Nick Clegg already looks like Pikey from Dad’s Army and the rest of you are falling behind him like ghastly extras from Central Casting. Don’t take the flack, go back to the issues you campaigned on – and the reason why people voted for you – and oppose the cuts that are going to hurt so many people.
    And yes, I agree with those who are calling for you to hold a public meeting so that you can explain yourself to your electorate and we can question you. Make sure you book a big hall.

  13. Yes it does look that way but I still think it’s important that call her to account. Promising one thing and delivering something entirely different is dishonest and will obviously be challenged by anyone who retains a moral compass. I think Lynne needs to convene a public meeting in her constituency and answer to us for her actions. My guess is Lynne will say she is out and about meeting people all the time, attending local events etc – but, just to be clear, I am looking for a political meeting. No singing, no dancing troupes, tea and biscuits not required – just a question and answer session, open to the public and focused on her and her actions.

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