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Farron secures potential 'Way out' of rural schools funding crisis

March 1, 2013 1:06 PM

Tim Farron MP at Kendal Nursery SchoolA major review of rural schools funding that will be based in Cumbria offers a 'way out' from the funding crisis threatening our local schools said MP Tim Farron today.

The county will be used as the 'case study' in a major Government review into how schools in England and Wales are allocated block grant funding. The county was picked for the review after Tim convinced Lib Dem MP Education Minister David Laws, who is responsible for reviewing the Government's approach to school funding that the unique rural nature of our county makes it the best place to base a study of the impact of the funding formula.

The Department for Education has now launched the exercise after proposals unveiled last autumn to shake up the funding system sparked an massive outcry among the county's head teachers, staff, unions and parents.

The review will look at the impact the proposals would have had on the budgets of more than 30 Cumbrian schools. The schools chosen are the ones believed to be most affected by any proposed funding changes. The review will take two months to complete.

The concern had been that under new the formula, implemented by the Department for Education it could allow the council to make a local decision about the allocation of a lump sum of cash of between £0 and £200,000 to all schools. However as this lump sum has to be same for all schools, secondary or primary, this 'one size fits all' model threatened the viability of some schools in Cumbria.

Tim said: "The reason why it is difficult for Cumbria is we have more smaller schools than most other counties. The more smaller schools you have, the more money you have to take from the bigger schools. I hope that this review will help provide the evidence to kill off these proposals. Rural schools are at the heart of our communities and that is where they need to remain."