Tony Brockman, of Haringey NUT, had convened a meeting of education stakeholders last night – to prepare for the consultation that will finally arrive in the next few weeks on funding our children in our Haringey Schools.
I started the ‘fair funding’ campaign several years ago, when I discovered from Parliamentary figures obtained – that our children got around £750.00 per head less than each child in Islington, Camden or Hackney. Hence the campaign title – fair funding!
Since that discovery and the full on campaign – I am pleased to say that the Labour MP and Minister, David Lammy, the Labour Council Leader, teachers, governors, parents and all – are all campaigning together to get the funding formula which delivers this disparity – changed – so that our children have a fair education.
The gap is still widening – and currently our children are getting over £1100 less per head – that is equivalent to £35 million per year and could deliver over 1000 extra teachers. That would be 15 teachers more for each of our Haringey schools.
And whilst our teachers do an excellent job – and we are improving – we are not improving as fast as other comparable areas. Obviously – a thousand more teachers would enable us to zoom ahead!
So – having secured a debate in Parliament specifically on Haringey’s unfair funding, having met with Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker (and twice with predecessor Jim Knight), having raised it at Prime Minister’s Questions and several other times in the House as well as tabling countless written questions – we are now at the point of possibility.
The Government has been conducting a review into their funding formula with the help of Price Waterhouse Cooper – and they are about to go out to consultation on the options for a changed funding formula. It is complex – really complex- so complex that Haringey have had to employ KPMG to interpret the new options – and they were there last night to explain to the stakeholders what will be next.
In brief – it looks like the recommended option in the Review will deliver a 6.6% increase to Haringey schools (if the consultation supports the recommended option). That won’t deliver parity – but it will deliver another £10million per year to our schools – and is probably for the time being – the best we are going to get out of this Government.
So – assuming this is the case and the consultation goes ahead – we all have to make sure that everyone – from stakeholders, to parents, to everyone – responds to the consultation. And we need to respond early and with personal experiences – what it will mean to our children and our school.
I also suggested that all our Haringey children might like to respond to – to make sure the Government hears directly from those most affected. I’m sure our children telling the Government what they could do with an extra £1000 would clinch the case!
I am hopeful, that after what has been a huge campaign as MP for this area, we will see a narrowing of the funding gap. Set to widen even further this year to around £1200 – it is the biggest ‘cliff edge’ between neighbouring boroughs for funding disparity.
I will come back and publicise the consultation as soon as the Government puts it out for us to respond to. It is thought that will be in the next three weeks – but track record on this would indicate that it could slip. But time is of the essence.