By Ian Dipple Thursday 04 October 2012 Updated: 08/10 10:33
SCHOOLS across Redditch could lose almost £2million over the next three years as a result of government funding reforms.
Over £300,000 is set to disappear from April as a result of attempts to simplify school funding and pave the way for the introduction of a fairer national funding formula from 2015.
But if there is a delay in introducing the formula, schools across the borough would potentially miss out on about £1.5million, leaving several, hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Even though some schools will gain from the new arrangement, the net loss to Redditch schools as a whole is over £500,000.
Although the amount of money Worcestershire County Council is getting to run schools next year is not changing, the criteria used to allocate it has been trimmed from almost 40 factors to just 12 and no longer takes into account elements such as the size of a school.
But as Worcestershire is already one of the worst funded education authority's in the country, with schools receiving over £1,000 less per pupil than neighbouring Birmingham, county council bosses are struggling to make the money stretch.
Although the Government has guaranteed for the next two years budgets will not rise or fall by more than 1.5 per cent per pupil, headteachers fear in 2015 they will be exposed to the full extent of the cuts if there is any delay in introducing a new national funding formula.
Marian Barton, headteacher at Trinity High School and also chair of the Worcestershire Schools Forum, said the actual losses could be a lot less as the projections were based on out of date pupil numbers but the situation was worrying.
"We hope the county council will look at this again. Redditch has a growing population of young people and to lose over half a million pounds does not bode well for the three tier system," she said.
"Any reduction in budget is going to be hard for schools but as long as they introduce fairer funding in 2015 that's okay, what I'm overwhelmingly worried about is year three."
Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman, said it could not be considered fair to have a situation where Vaynor First School in Headless Cross gained £197,184 while Abbeywood First School in Church Hill lost £127,526.
"Cuts to school budgets of this magnitude will be devastating for those worst hit," she said.
Coun Jane Potter, responsible for education on the county council, said they were still tweaking the figures but had written to the Government asking for more flexibility in how part of the funding was allocated so they could minimise some of the losses.
She said she shared concerns about the impact of any delay in introducing a new national funding formula but added: "I am fairly confident if that happens the Government will keep the minimum funding guarantee and won't just let schools fall off a cliff edge."
The Department for Education was unable to respond before the Standard went to press.
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