Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet approves funding for all pupils
Schools in Telford and Wrekin will receive more funding per pupil next year, after Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet approved the school funding formula for 2023/24.
At their meeting on Thursday 4 January, the cabinet agreed to increase funding per pupil by 2%, the maximum funding increase permitted by the National Minimum Funding Guarantee, which allows local authorities to increase schools funding by between 0.5% and 2% per pupil. This brings the total dedicated school grant fund for Telford and Wrekin in 2024/25 to £161 million.
However, disappointments were voiced around a miscalculation of pupil numbers by the Department for Education which resulted in a reduction of £1.470m for Telford and Wrekin, equating to around £14,000 less for an average primary school and £59,000 less for an average secondary school.
The new funding will come into effect for maintained schools from 1 April 2024 and for academies from 1 September 2024. The fund does not cover nursery schools, special schools or independent schools in the borough.
Members also agreed to continue to support the borough’s growing schools by basing funding on estimated pupil numbers, rather than actual numbers, to avoid the delay in money reaching those schools where pupil numbers are expected to increase.
Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab) cabinet member for education, employment and visitor economy said: “For 2024/25 we have agreed to include an increase in funding of 2% per pupil, the maximum allowable by government.
“As a council, it is our priority to ensure that every child, young person and adult lives well in their community. While most mainstream schools in Telford and Wrekin are forecast to receive an increase in funding, the reality is that this year’s government funding is less that previous years when you take into consideration recent inflation and the additional pressures our schools are facing which is far higher than 2%.
“Furthermore, on a national level, we are seeing a 70% increase in the number of pupils who have been identified as having SEND but with no additional funding or support available.
“We are also very concerned about the government’s proposed plans to change conditions on how the ‘Exceptional’ Dedicated Schools Grant funding can be used. If the government go ahead with their proposal it would mean we cannot use this money to support schools with the cost of using council owned swimming pools to provide swimming lessons for children which is really disappointing.
“We will continue to push for sufficient funding for our schools to ensure the budgets that the government allocate quite simply meet the needs of pupils, the additional demand around support for pupils with special educational needs - and also that they reflect rising inflation levels.”