Lynne Featherstone MP demands answers on Fairer Funding allocation

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has today called on Labour-run Haringey Council to ensure that the distribution of new funding for education is truly fair.

After a hard fought five year campaign, Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats secured fairer funding for education in Haringey. As a result of this, an extra £7.3 million has been allocated for Haringey’s schools.

The additional funds from the fairer funding settlement have gone a long way to ending the long-standing funding anomaly – which saw local schools receiving outer London funding but paying inner London costs. Haringey Council will shortly be able to allocate the extra money directly to schools in the borough.

The £7.3million in fairer funding money is in addition to the £8.8million allocated to Haringey schools through pupil premium. The pupil premium is a separate amount based on a Liberal Democrat Government policy to give more money to schools in accordance with the number of disadvantaged children.

Katherine Reece, Haringey Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children said:

“It’s fantastic news that Haringey will now finally receive fairer funding for education.

“We now want to ensure that the money will be distributed fairly and proportionally throughout the borough’s primary and secondary schools.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Poverty and disadvantage are present all over the borough. All of Haringey schools already pay Inner London pay scales, so they should all get a share of the money to assist them.

“I have written to the Interim Chief Executive and called on the Labour-run Council to ensure that the money reaches every school in Hornsey and Wood Green, as well as those in Tottenham.”

Mayoral Candidate and local residents back Lynne in battle for fair funding

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!

London Liberal Democrats led by Brian Paddick on Friday gave their firm backing to Lynne Featherstone MP’s long-running campaign for fair funding for the Borough’s schools.

The mayoral candidate joined the fight for better school funding as the second leg in a consultation to simplify the school funding system came to a close on 11th October. This round of consultation has seen an even stronger backing by residents, with close to 130 local people, teachers and schools making personal submissions to the consultation.

Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, GLA Liberal Democrat member Caroline Pidgeon and GLA candidate Dawn Barnes on Friday jointly backed the campaign during a visit to Haringey.

In addition to fighting for local schools to get fairer funding in a new funding formula, Liberal Democrats are already delivering more funding for local schools, through the pupil premium. It was last week announced that this year, schools will get close to £500 per deprived pupil, an increase on the £430 promised earlier in the year, adding up to an extra £2.2 million for schools in Hornsey and Wood Green. For the Borough, that adds up to a boost of £5.3 million this school year alone.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I’m delighted to have such a strong backing in the battle for fair funding, both from Brian and his team and from local residents who really have come out in force to respond to the consultation. Thank you all.

“I am sure that this strong support will make a world of difference and hopefully tip the balance in favour of our children.

“But local schools are already reaping the benefits of Liberal Democrats in government, by getting an extra £5.3 million to support deprived pupils this year alone. I’m proud to see us delivering for local schools already and I look forward to hearing the outcome of this consultation in the next few months.”

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate, Brian Paddick, adds:

“I was appalled to hear of the long-standing unfairness in the way Haringey schools have been funded over the years.

“But it’s great to see the new government taking strong action to simplify the school funding system and looking specifically at the case of Haringey. I am 100 per cent behind Lynne in her long-running battle for this injustice to end. Give Haringey’s children fair funding now!”

Another leap forward for Lynne’s fight for fair funding

Lynne Featherstone MP on Seven Sisters Road. Schools in Hackney on the right hand side get £1540 per pupil more than schools in Haringey, on the left hand sideLocal residents have this week joined MP Lynne Featherstone and local Liberal Democrats in a defining moment in the four year battle for fair funding for Haringey’s schools, by jointly sending in a strong response to the government’s school funding consultation.
At least fifty local people united behind Lynne to help send a clear message to the government that they should take the opportunity to end the injustice of Haringey’s schoolchildren receiving up to £1540 less than pupils in neighbouring boroughs.
The consultation, that ended this week, was the first of a two part consultation into school funding. This first leg sought views on creating a fairer school formula which campaigners say needs to consider the fact that Haringey pays inner-London costs but the current system only gives the borough’s schools outer-London funding – now £1540 less per pupil. 
The second part of the consultation is expected to take place later on this year and look into the finer details of the funding system.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“It’s amazing to see how residents here in Hornsey and Wood Green can be united to help fight for such an important cause as fair funding for our children’s schools. Together we have made a really strong case for correcting the historical injustice that sees out children being short-changed by up to £1540 each, and finally get funding equality with pupils in neighbouring boroughs.
“For thirteen years, Labour underfunded Haringey’s schools, and ignored plea after plea for justice. It’s great to see Lib Dems in government taking decisive action for fairer school funding.”
Cllr Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat Children’s Spokesperson, adds:
“This could be another giant leap forward in our four-year campaign for fair funding. I’m glad that so many residents have taken the time and effort to get involved – without them this would not have happened.
“This was the first of a two leg consultation, and we all look forward to mobilising the parents of Haringey to make an equally strong case in the next leg, likely to be launched in the summer.”

Fair Funding for Haringey’s schools – first consultation launched

To continue her fight for fair funding for Haringey’s schools, Lynne Featherstone MP is this week contacting thousands of local residents, encouraging them to respond to a consultation into school funding.
The consultation, the first of two that will be launched this year, went live today, and looks at the principles of changing the current school funding formula, that sees Haringey’s schools getting up to £1540 less than schools in neighbouring boroughs like Hackney and Camden. The review, which runs until the 25th May, asks for residents’ views on how the current system should change. A second consultation, that will look more specifically at new funding formulas, will be launched later in the summer.
Residents who want to respond to the current consultation, should do so online, by going to, or by emailing before 25th May. Any residents who need help, or need a hard copy should contact Lynne Featherstone’s office on 020 8340 5459.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“For too long Labour starved Haringey’s schools of funding. But thanks to Liberal Democrats in Government, this situation is now being reviewed.
“It’s great that the Education Secretary acknowledged Haringey’s unfair situation in a recent letter to me. But the next step now is to make sure we all respond to this first consultation.
“We need to show a resounding support for a change to the unfair way our schools are funded, and especially that the additional costs of employing teachers and other staff in this part of London should be recognised. This is our big chance, please don’t let it slip by!”
Liberal Democrat Children’s spokesperson Cllr Rachel Allison adds:
“This is the first of two reviews we will see this year. This first consultation looks at the desire for change, and will form the basis for the second twelve week consultation later in the year.
“We need this consultation to be backed by as many people as possible, to give us the best options for the second consultation in the summer. Please help our schools get a fair funding system that properly covers their costs, by responding to both reviews, to give our children the best possible start in life.”

One step closer to fair funding for Haringey's children

The coalition government has announced it will be reviewing Haringey’s unfair school funding in the spring, after years of campaigning by local Liberal Democrats. Lynne Featherstone MP received the encouraging news in a recent response from the education minister Michael Gove, after writing to him about Haringey’s unfair funding.
In the letter, the Minister recognises Haringey’s special school funding case, where local pupils get up to £1,300 less than students in neighbouring boroughs, like Hackney and Camden. He has also confirmed that Haringey’s unique circumstances will be considered as part of a review to make the national school funding formula fairer and more transparent, due to be launched in the spring.
Since 2006, Lynne Featherstone MP has spearheaded the campaign to address the funding shortfall resulting from local teachers getting ‘inner London’ wages, but schools getting ‘outer London’ funding.
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
“This is a real step forward for Haringey’s children, and for fair funding for our schools. I’ll be campaigning all out to make sure local people respond to the consultation later on in the spring.
“Labour kept depriving our children of fair school funding. But thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, Haringey’s special case has at last been recognised.”
Local Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Councillor Rachel Allison adds:
“The coalition understands the importance of extra funding for the poorest children, with local schools getting an extra £4.5 million in pupil premium.
“Changing Labour’s unfair funding formula is the next step in getting fair education for Haringey’s children.”

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!

Fair funding campaign – consultation starts!

It’s several years since I discovered the terrible unfair funding Haringey children get and started the Campaign for Fair Funding . Our children get £1318 less per head for their schools than neighbouring boroughs like Camden, Islington and Hackney. We have now reached the point where the Government is finally consulting on the funding formula for schools to start in 2011.

After a long campaign and lots of help from all of you – we now have the opportunity to respond forcefully to the consultation that could help     address that existing unfairness that sees Haringey’s children getting £1318 less per pupil than in neighbouring inner London boroughs.  I have contacted thousands of local residents with information on how they can help.

The consultation is running until the 7th June. The Government is consulting on a change in the funding formula, where one option would give Haringey’s children 6.6% more funding (around £10.8 million), and one option would keep the current funding arrangements that mean Haringey schools pay ‘inner-London’ wages but get ‘outer-London’ money.

To respond to the consultation, please go to

This is our opportunity to do something about the Labour Government’s unfair funding of Haringey schools. (Needless to say  if Liberal Democrats were to win the coming election – our ‘pupil premium’ would deliver fair funding for Haringey children and bring about £30 million into our schools extra each year).

The funding options put forward by the Government are far from perfect – and don’t fully correct the current unfairness. But the ‘hybrid’ option would at least increase our funding by £10.8 million– and that’s better than no increase! So please take a minute to respond – this is our chance to make a difference for our kids’ futures.

Fair Funding – consultation in next few weeks – hopefully

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.

Fair funding for Haringey Schools

Well – finally – on the record – the gross unfairness of the way the Government funds schooling in Haringey. Just briefly – we get about £1183 less per child than neighbouring boroughs like Camden, Hackney and Islington. That is around £35 million a year – or more importantly – if we got fair funding we could have 1021 more teachers (we have 1500) that is 15 per school. Imagine the difference that would make.

You can watch the debate at  it starts about two thirds in if you scroll along.

I was so pleased that local school governors, parents, Haringey NUT and the Schools Forum came to actually watch the debate in Parliament. We were also the lead story on BBC London – which is great – because all of this is about not letting the Government sideline Haringey in the current Review of our Dedicated Schools Grant. They ignored the unfairness last time and in fact increased the problem – widening the gap.

Needless to say the Minister refused to give us a categoric assurance that the funding gap would be closed post review, refused our request for a Haringey Representative on the Funding Review Panel, refused to give us emergency funding until the gap is closed. However, she did concede the case that we made and assured us that our voices had been heard.

So – whist fair funding is still a way away – the key thing is – they can’t possibly claim they don’t know how badly Haringey is being affected by this funding unfairness – and they will look extremely bad if they don’t rectify matters.

The Schools Minister has agreed to a meeting with me in a couple of weeks time – so I can take up all the questions in my speech that were left unanswered and push further on the ones that were!

Fair school funding for Haringey

Later today, 4pm in Westminster Hall, I finally get to put Haringey’s case for fair funding to the Minister on the record. This is about the fact that our Haringey children get £1183 less per head than neighbouring boroughs. I have tackled Gordon in PMQs before (he agreed it was an ‘anomaly’), met with now former School’s Minister Jim Knight, raised it in on the floor of the House – but today I have actually secured a debate and the Minister has to respond directly – in public.

The key questions for the Minister to respond to are:

– why does the Government make Haringey pay our school teachers at the higher inner London rate (rightly as we have the same challenges as Camden, Hackney and Islington) but then not award them inner London per pupil funding?

– given that this unfair funding  has gone of for some years and civil servants have clearly not seen fit to do anything about rectifying this situation and may be tempted to once again fail to address this situation, what case will the Minister be making to the current Review into school funding, that will ensure Haringey don’t come out the other end of the Review in the same unfair position?

– the Review will not report until later in 2010 and its findings won’t be implemented until 2011. Haringey schools in recent figures released to David Laws, LibDem Education Spokesperson showed that Haringey, together with three other authorities, have more schools in deficit than anywhere else in the country. Given that this unfair funding is now causing real damage, will the Minister commit to making an interim bridging fund of £1000 per Haringey child until the funding anomaly is corrected in the Review.

This video demonstrates the situation in brief – but was filmed just before I heard I had secured the debate:

You can also watch it on YouTube here.