Data released from the House of Commons has shown that the North East is the region which will see the least additional funding outside of London.
Under the proposed three year funding plan, 137 schools will see some funding increases in 2020-21, however, proportionally, this is lower than elsewhere in the country.
The data highlights how using the Minimum Funding Level as a means to distribute the promised increases means that schools in areas like the North East, with the greatest numbers of ‘high impact’ long term deprived children who require the greatest support, will effectively lose out.
The recent EPI report highlighted how disadvantaged students in the North East can be on average 20 months behind their peers at secondary level, with every North East Local Authority exceeding the national average of 18 months. This ‘deprivation gap’ illustrates the need for additional support in areas of long term, high impact economic disadvantage.
Funding levels are key to closing this gap, which becomes apparent from the significant amounts invested in deprived areas of London. In Tower Hamlets over a third of pupils are classed as persistently deprived and the deprivation gap is just 5.3 months. In Middlesbrough, where 18.9% pupils are persistently deprived, the deprivation gap has widened to 18.8 months.
However, the proposed funding distribution will not invest further in the areas that need it most. In Hartlepool for example, disadvantaged students at secondary level are up to 23 months behind their peers, yet the figures released show that no secondary schools in the area will receive any additional funding. Furthermore, only two out of 30 Hartlepool primary schools will see their funding increased.
Schools North East Director of Operations, Chris Zarraga, said, ‘The additional funding on offer does nothing to support our hard working school leaders or our students as they try to narrow the attainment gap with more advantaged areas. Far greater support from the Government is needed, specifically targeted at those areas dealing with the greatest problems.’