Consultation on national schools funding formula – 11 March 2016

This week I highlight the new consultation on reforms to the national schools funding formula, a reminder that DBS checks for Governors become compulsory this month, a new requirement for schools to register their Governors on Edubase from September and the launch of a new website for school performance tables.

Further to the Chancellor’s announcement in his Autumn statement that a new school funding formula would be introduced in 2017, the Government has now drawn up its proposals and this week launched a consultation on them.

The most immediate change is that local authorities will no longer determine how core funds are distributed, which instead will go straight to schools. Their role will be limited to distributing high needs funding, on the basis that this involves making local decisions about children with SEND.

The press release issued by the DfE to announce the consultation stated that four factors would determine how core funding was to be distributed:

  • basic per pupil funding – ensuring a core allocation for the costs of teaching all pupils;
  • funding for additional needs – including deprivation, low prior attainment and English as an additional language;
  • school costs – including fixed costs and those related to schools serving rural communities;
  • area costs – ensuring more funding goes to areas that face the highest costs.

If you would like to contribute to the consultation you can do so here.

Amendments to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 come into effect on the 18th of this month when it will become compulsory for all Governors in maintained schools to have Disclosure and Barring Service checks. (The amended regulations do not use the term Disclosure and Barring Service but refer to “criminal record certificates”).

From 1 April Governing bodies will have to apply for an enhanced check certificate for any new Governor within 21 days of their appointment or election. For all existing Governors Governing bodies will have to apply for certificates by 1 September of this year.

The relevant regulation, The School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 can be accessed here.

Schools are to be required to register details of all their Governors on Edubase, the Department for Education’s Register of educational establishments in England and Wales. The information to be given will include name, appointment date and the appointing body, which will be public information. Home addresses, nationality and the chair’s email address are also likely to be required, but will not be available to the public. The target dates are for schools to start uploading information in April if they wish, and for it to be compulsory to do so from September.

Academy trusts are to provide the same details on members of local governing bodies, in addition to the current requirement for them to publish information about their trustees.

The DfE has just launched a new site for school performance tables which contains  statistics about school and college performance in England, including test results, teacher assessments, Ofsted reports and financial information for academies. The old site will close at the end of this month.