The National funding formula (NFF) for schools in England was proposed in 2016, following the additional sum of £390 million provided by the Coalition Government, in 2015-2016, to help the least fairly-funded local authorities.

The proposal is to ensure that school funding across England is fairer. Prior to the proposal, critics illuminated the unfair funding of schools, whereby one school was receiving less than another school, in the same area, due to different levels of per pupil funding.

What does the NFF include?

The National funding formula will take into consideration; a basic per-student amount, as well as, pupil characteristics, school, and area costs.

Justine Greening, the education secretary, said that there’s a need for a system that “funds schools according to the needs of their pupils rather than their postcode.”

Greening wishes to ‘level the playing field’ to ensure that ‘parents are confident that every child will have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential’.

Cuts across the system

It is estimated that mainstream schools in England must make £3 billion of savings by 2019-20, to counteract the cost pressures.

Adrian Prandle, director of economic strategy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturer, said “The government has not put the needs of children first in failing to come up with any additional funding for schools.”

Prandle said that without additional funding, schools will struggle to recruit enough staff, many must cut staff, the subjects they teach, IT upgrades, the upkeep of classrooms and extracurricular activities.

Disadvantaged children will suffer most.

Researchers, from Child Poverty Action Group and National Union of Teachers, fear that the schools where over 40% of students are entitled to free meals will be hit the worst by the National funding formula proposal, which will be launched in 2018-2019.

The six unions representing school staff suggested that over 90% of schools are to face “a real terms funding cut for every pupil”.

This subsequently means that there would be an annual loss of £477 for every secondary school pupil and £339 for every primary school pupil.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary at National Union of Teachers, said that the government will be “seriously threatening” the poorer children’s life chances.

Right or wrong?

Whether the National funding formula will benefit schools is anyone’s guess.

However, the fact remains that the educational system is undermined when it comes to funding and the impact it makes on the future. And this must change.

In the Disadvantage report, by Jo Hutchinson, John Dunford and Mike Treadaway, they hit the nail on the head by summarising; “[that] allowing a significant number of children to fail to reach their educational and economic potential is a waste of human capital on a grand scale, resulting in lower economic growth and increased costs to the tax-payer.”