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Budget boost for Suffolk and Essex schools but per pupil funding remains among lowest in country

PUBLISHED: 18:34 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:34 11 October 2019

Schools in Suffolk and Essex will see a funding boost next year Picture: PA WIRE

Schools in Suffolk and Essex will see a funding boost next year Picture: PA WIRE

Schools in Suffolk and Essex will see their budgets boosted next year following a cash injection from the Government - yet both counties remain among the lowest funded per pupil in the country.

Suffolk will receive £427.3m in 2020/21, an increase of £21.3million compared to the 2019/20 budget, with schools in the county receiving £4,604 per pupil - an increase of 4.62%.

Schools in Essex will get £889.2m, a £46.9m increase, with per pupil funding at £4,592 - a boost of 4.88% compared to 2019/20.

In terms of per pupil funding, Suffolk sits in 117th place out of 148 local authorities, while Essex is even lower at 125th.

The East of England overall will see an extra £184m, a 4.5% increase per pupil.

The Government says the landmark investment delivers on the prime minister's pledge to level up education funding and give all young people the same opportunities to succeed - regardless of where they grow up or go to school.

But school leaders said there are concerns about schools which are only getting an inflationary increase, arguing that costs are rising above the rate of inflation.

MORE: Suffolk loses more than 200 teachers as pupil numbers rise

On Friday, the Government published information on how the first year of investment (2020/21) - totalling £2.6 billion - will be allocated to schools.

Cash is allocated using the National Funding Formula (NFF), which takes into account factors such as size of school and demographics, as well as historic funding levels to ensure that schools get a minimum amount of money per pupil.

Former headteacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary at the ASCL Picture: GREGG BROWNFormer headteacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary at the ASCL Picture: GREGG BROWN

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "I recognise the pressures schools have faced and want them and parents to be safe in the knowledge that all children can get the top-quality education they deserve in classrooms across the country.

"Our continuing investment in education, coupled with a bold reform agenda and the work of Ofsted, will supercharge the ongoing rise in school standards."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and former headteacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, said: "Boris Johnson said we should not accept the idea that there can be 'winners and losers' when it comes to our children's futures when he announced that there would be extra money for schools.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Lyla Shepard-Robinson during a visit to St Mary's and All Saints Primary School in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The government has announced funding allocations for schools Picture: ALASTAIR GRANT/PA WIREPrime Minister Boris Johnson with Lyla Shepard-Robinson during a visit to St Mary's and All Saints Primary School in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The government has announced funding allocations for schools Picture: ALASTAIR GRANT/PA WIRE

"But we can see clearly from the detailed allocations made today that there are winners and losers.

"In fact, there are far more losers than the figures suggest because most schools will still be worse off than they were when the cuts began to bite in 2015.

"The biggest concern is over the group of schools which will receive only an inflationary increase next year.

"This is because school costs are in fact rising above the rate of inflation, and this means many of these schools will have to make further cuts to their hard-pressed budgets."

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk and health secretary, said: "The 4.62% per pupil funding boost next year will mean that every school in Suffolk will receive a budget increase, giving teachers, parents and pupils the certainty to plan, and supercharging standards in our schools."

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