The ruling Conservatives on South Glos Council have admitted that the Government’s funding per pupil cannot technically be achieved, and they are seeking approval from the Secretary of State before they can approve their Schools budget.
The new Conservative Government pledged that pupil funding will reach £5000 a year for each secondary school pupil by 2020/21, and at least £4000 a year for each primary school pupil by 2021/22.
An ongoing shortfall for local children has arisen because of South Gloucestershire Council’s £16 million schools funding deficit combined with their proposal to transfer £4.9 million of the Schools Block funding to the High Needs Block to support schools with SEND.
Councillor Alison Evans, Labour councillor for Woodstock said: “South Glos Council have come up with a number of options to address the deficit in Schools and SEND funding but I am concerned that they have not modelled what affect these different options would have on each school in terms of resources and support staff and how this will impact on our most vulnerable children. The council has such limited resources in terms of funding for schools that it is difficult to see how this can be sustainable.”
Alison continued: “Our Schools are in crisis, and our secondary schools are doing particularly badly – a recent OFSTED report concluded that almost 60% of secondary schools in South Gloucestershire are falling below the expected standard. Central government may be promising more funding, but years of underfunding of Schools has taken its toll. The National Education Union has calculated that each School in South Glos has averaged a £153 per pupil loss, so there is a lot of ground to make up.”