Councillors to fight proposed Government changes to school funding

Reporter:

James Hockaday

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Strong opposition to the Government’s proposed National Funding Formula (NFF) was shown at a Slough Borough Council (SBC) meeting on Tuesday.

SBC commissioner for education Cllr Sabia Hussain (Lab, Central) put forward a motion at the meeting to campaign against the formula.

The NFF will stop local authorities setting their own funding formulas for schools, which the Government says will reduce disparities between schools in neighbouring areas.

However Cllr Hussain says this will result in a large amount of money being taken away from Slough schools.

At the meeting councillors disputed the legitimacy of a claim that the new funding formula would result in £12.4million in cuts to Slough schools.

Tory councillors said it came from the ‘biased’ National Union of Teachers website but Labour councillors retorted that it came from the National Audit Office.

However both Conservative and Labour councillors agreed on the council fighting the proposed reforms, for which a public consultation is being held until the end of March.

At the meeting, Cllr Preston Brooker (Lab, Langley Kedermister) said: “This is affecting our future. We must invest in the future, we must invest in our kids.

“This is not what our current government is doing.”

Describing Slough students as ‘some of the best in the country’, Cllr Amarpreet Dhaliwal (Con, Langley St Mary’s) said: “I absolutely oppose these cuts.

“The Secretary of State is very well aware of the concerns of Slough schools and certainly our MP [Fiona Mactaggart] has been raising the issue for some time.”

Cllr Hussain agreed to write to MPs in surrounding areas where many Slough students live as part of SBC’s campaigning.

At the meeting, Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said the council should canvas MP for Windsor Adam Afriyie, who represents Colnbrook in his constituency.

Cllr Swindlehurst said: “Prodding him to get him off his jacksie would be useful, if he’s even around. If we can find him we want to make him do something for us.”

The meeting took place at The Curve in William Street.

Visit www.gov.uk/government/consultations/schools-national-funding-formula-stage-2 to take part in the consultation.

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