Today the Government has published an updated funding formula for 2023, which outlines how the education budget has been allocated to schools in the financial year 2023.
What is the school funding formula?
The funding formula is an operational document – it sets out the budgets for the different areas that schools need to fund. This includes everything from teacher salaries, to cleaning and building maintenance, to learning and teaching materials.
The funding formula also sets out what extra funding is in place to support children and young people who have additional needs. This includes those who:
- have a Record of Need
- are on the Special Educational Needs register
- are Multi-lingual learners or
- come from low-income households
If a child or young person has one or more of these characteristics, their school will receive additional funding to help build and deliver a more inclusive education for them.
Why is it changing?
Under the previous system, school funding was allocated based on an Average Weighted Pupil Unit (APWU) methodology. Schools got a set amount of money for different areas (for example, building maintenance and salaries).
The AWPU also allocated money according to the needs of children in the school to a limited extent. The funding was neither sufficient nor targeted to the specific needs of the children and young people attending a school.
This issues with this funding system were highlighted in an external review (The Independent School Funding Review). A recommendation from that review was to conduct a more detailed assessment of inclusion within the local education system. The nasen inclusion review, published in 2021, also recommended a more transparent funding model that allows funding to follow children if they moved schools. Headteachers and teachers also highlighted that the APWU model didn’t give them the financial support they needed to provide an inclusive education to children and y oung people.
The Independent School Funding Review in 2020 highlighted the need for more funding in the education system overall. But it also highlighted that the most disadvantaged children suffered the most from the below-needed levels of funding.
The new formula is designed to better target funding and support to the unmet needs of children and young people in education. Headteachers then have the discretion to build the school workforce and provisions to suit those needs with guidance from central education and inclusion teams.
This means that, over time, where the need is greatest, funding will increase. This moves the education system towards greater funding equity enabling all to achieve their outcomes.
What happens now?
This funding formula applies to the 2023 financial year. The Government will continue to work with headteachers and education staff to identify which elements of the formula need to be refined further.
In future, the funding formula will be published annually and, ideally, much earlier in the year.
Although schools now have more funding for additional support for the children and young people who need it most, this is only part of the solution. Schools need then to invest this in recruiting teachers, teaching assistants, school business managers and other staff who can provide this support. In parallel, work is ongoing to recruit, train and retain the staff we need to fill these roles.
The funding review was clear that, while the funding formula needs to change and overall levels of funding need to increase, it will some time before we see the impact on children and young people’s outcomes or, to put it better, their futures.
You can read the Funding Formula for Schools 2023 on the Government of Jersey website.