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Fears for Wyre Forest schools after funding cuts approved
THERE are fears smaller Wyre Forest schools could suffer downgrading or even closure because of cuts after Worcestershire County Council adopted a new Government funding formula.
At a meeting last Thursday, the cabinet approved the new schools funding scheme. It means mainly rural schools will lose out because the Government has altered the way it will distribute cash to schools from 38 factors to 12 and, with no extra money provided, councillors must take funds away from some schools and hand them to others to meet the criteria.
For 2013/14 and 2014/15, there will be a “minimum funding guarantee”, meaning no cuts will be worse than -1.5 per cent per pupil but that is not guaranteed for the year after.
If no other guarantee is introduced long term, primary schools in Wyre Forest could face cuts of up to 18 per cent according to a list seen by The Shuttle.
Secondary schools will also be affected.
Worcestershire is the 147th worst funded local education authority out of 151 in England but councillors will lobby for more money before the guarantee ends.
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier met Education Minister David Laws on Tuesday, warning the problem could mean “good small schools may be forced to close”.
“Some Wyre Forest schools do better from this but some lose out as well,” he said.
“Any change is disruptive for headteachers. Some will adapt but some are very annoyed about it and I am completely sympathetic.
“If you moved Baxter College, for example, to Tower Hamlets [in London], doing exactly the same job, it would receive £3 million more.
“There is a perception Worcestershire is a wealthy county but we have serious areas of need in Wyre Forest, which demonstrates we need more money. This is a problem and we have to get this resolved.”
Conservative councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education and skills, said calculations had been re-modelled “hundreds of times” but there “would always be winners and losers”.
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