By Ian Dipple Thursday 18 October 2012 Updated: 18/10 23:44
A DEBATE has been called in Parliament about the impact of school funding changes in Redditch.
Town MP Karen Lumley and the five other Worcestershire MPs will discuss the issue on Tuesday (October 23) and express their concerns to ministers about the impact of the move which from 2015 could see some borough school's miss out on about £1.5million of funding. The potential losses are a result of government reforms to simplify school funding in preparation for the introduction of a fairer national funding formula.
But while the Government has introduced a Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) to ensure budgets will not rise or fall by more than 1.5 per cent per pupil over the next two years, there is uncertainty as to whether that will be extended should implementation of a new formula be delayed beyond 2015, which headteachers fear will leave them fully exposed to the cuts.
Mrs Lumley said she felt there had been a 'process failure' but was confident there was time to resolve it to ensure schools were not unfairly impacted on.
"We already have winners and losers as Church Hill Middle School at the moment gets £5,053 per pupil and Walkwood Middle School gets £3,509," she said.
"The reason Worcestershire is more affected by this is because it is at the bottom of the school funding league table.
"The way out of this is a fairer national funding formula which the Government has promised and in 13 years of a Labour government nothing was done about.
"We were promised we will get one in the next Parliament and I will be expecting us to go into the next election in 2015 promising one.
"We're in the early stages of this and the Minimum Funding Guarantee gives us time to sort it out and we will."
She added the actual losses may be less than forecast as the pupil premium - introduced by the Coalition Government and which gives schools more money for poorer pupils - still had to be added on.
Yesterday (Thursday) county councillors agreed a funding formula for 2013/14 which will still see Redditch schools miss out on hundreds of thousands of pounds despite the MFG. But Coun Jane Potter, responsible for schools on the county council, said the situation would be reviewed next year to try and minimise the losses further.
"The new model is to gain greater transparency and simplicity. But it does create inflexibility as well as winners and losers."
Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, said: "Redditch is being unfairly hit. Worcester high schools have had no cuts at all."
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