Kensington & ChelseaNews

One borough’s school budget would be £500k worse off after ‘bungled’ DfE calculation, claim Labour

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

Labour has slammed the Government’s bungled schools budget, claiming it leaves those in one west London borough almost £500,000 worse off next year.

They say the latest government figures show schools in Kensington and Chelsea will be, on average, £14,800 short – or have £41 less to spend per pupil – next year, because the Department for Education miscalculated the amounts of funding state schools in England need.

Labour says secondary schools will be hit hardest with the average deficit racking up to £45k, or a loss of £53 per pupil per year. 

Kensington Aldridge Academy in Silchester Road will lose £82,243, equivalent to £80 per student, according to Labour’s analysis of government data (Picture: Google Street View)

Nationally, they say, schools will lose £370m in funding for the 2024/25 academic year.

The Department for Education disputes this and says core funding has not changed.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This is a misrepresentation of the update to the national funding formula allocations. 

“Schools have not yet received their 2024-25 funding so the correction of this error does not mean adjusting any funding that schools have already received. The permanent secretary has taken full responsibility for this error.

“The total amount that the school sector will receive remains unchanged at £59.6billion in 2024-25, the highest it has ever been in history, in real terms per pupil.”

According to Labour’s analysis, Kensington Aldridge Academy on Silchester Road will lose £82,243, equivalent to £80 per student. That is followed closely by the Chelsea Academy, who will have a £71,085 shortfall, or £79 less per student. Both are secondary schools. 

Joe Powell, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Kensington and Bayswater, said it was “utterly unacceptable” that schools face less funding over what he called was the “Tories’ botched schools budget”.

He said: “Too many children in this borough have been let down by 13 years of Conservative government. Labour will raise standards with more teachers and mental health support for all school pupils.

“My priority is to ensure every child in Kensington and Bayswater has the opportunity to receive the best start in life.”

Bridget Phillipson MP, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “Rishi Sunak wants young people to learn maths to 18, but he ought to get his own house in order first and teach Conservative education ministers how to count. 

“Ministers’ staggering mathematical incompetence follows hot on the heels of disruption caused by the Conservatives which has pushed our schools to breaking point.  

“It’s no wonder that the relationship between families, schools and government is at rock bottom – education simply isn’t a priority for the Conservatives.”

She said Labour would invest in hiring 6,500 more teachers and put mental health counsellors in every secondary school paid for by ending private schools’ tax breaks.

They said the republished figures include an average 1.9per cent increase in funding per pupil compared to this year.

A Kensington and Chelsea council spokesperson said they expect to see an increase of £656,000, 0.8 per cent, in funding for schools next year as well as a separate grant that funds part of the teachers’ pay award.

Pictured top: Joe Powell, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Kensington and Bayswater (Picture: Keith Stirling/Joe Powell)

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