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Wednesday 13 March 2019: School funding in Birmingham

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Teacher and class

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at school funding in Birmingham in light of a crowdfunding campaign by Jess Phillips MP.

Birmingham School Funding

Today, Wednesday 13 March, several media outlets have covered the news that MP Jess Phillips has set up a crowdfunding campaign and outlined plans for children to protest in Westminster over school funding. This has been reported on by the Guardian, the Independent, the Evening Standard and I News.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has recently deployed a school resource management adviser to provide additional support to Birmingham City Council. The adviser can, in agreement with the local authority, provide tailored advice to schools on how best to use their resources to deliver educational outcomes. We have offered to extend that support to more schools in Birmingham as needed.

We have protected the core schools budget overall in real terms since 2010 and have put an additional £1.3 billion into core schools funding across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above the plans set out at the last Spending Review.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We know schools face budgeting challenges schools and are being asked to do more. However, Birmingham receives per pupil funding significantly above the national average: in 2019-20, an average of £5,080 per pupil, well above the national average of £4,689. So we are also clear that schools in Birmingham should have no need to move to a shortened week for financial reasons.

Flexibility over the length of the school week is not new, schools have long had the ability to structure the school week as they wish and we trust that headteachers will do this in a sensible manner.

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