Schools in the North East receive £17m extra government funding

Schools in the North East are to receive £17m extra from the government as part of efforts to address funding inequalities

Seahouses Middle School
Seahouses Middle School

Schools in the region are to receive a £17m boost from the government as it seeks to address inequalities in funding.

The Department for Education has revealed plans to give schools in Northumberland an extra £12m and County Durham a further £4.7m as part of a commitment to help sites in some of the country’s most poorly funded areas.

The news was welcomed by the local education authority in Northumberland while one headteacher in the county claimed it had been one of the poorest funded areas in the country for a number of years.

In July, the government published estimates of how an extra £390 million would be allocated to increase the budgets of the “least fairly funded” areas across the country, as it sought to help all pupils to fulfil their potential regardless of background.

At the time, it proposed to give Northumberland an extra £10.6m funding in 2015/16, while Durham was to get an extra £4.3m.

Yesterday, the DfE published the final per-pupil funding allocations for 2015-16 for all local areas.

This includes the extra £12m for Northumberland, with a 7.2 per cent increase from £166.2m to £178.3m. This represents an increase in funding from £4,244 to £4,551 per pupil.

It also features the additional £4.7m for Durham, with a 1.7 per cent rise from £281.1m to £285.8m. This is an increase per pupil from £4,573 to £4,648.

Announcing the extra money, schools minister David Laws said: “Schools are absolutely crucial to our vision to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that everyone can reach their full potential.

“Without proper funding it’s impossible to give children a fair start in life.

“​That’s why we are taking action to address the unfairness in school funding by allocating an additional £390 million to the least fairly funded areas in the country, whilst protecting schools budgets elsewhere.

“This is the biggest step towards fairer schools funding in a decade, meaning every local area will attract a minimum level of funding for its pupils and schools in 2015-16.

“Schools are also benefiting from an additional £2.5bn of extra funding through the pupil premium to help raise attainment amongst the most disadvantaged pupils.”

Reacting to the increased allocation, a spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “This funding is good news for schools in Northumberland.

“We will now be working through the detail and confirming the full impact for the county in due course.”

Julie Harris, headteacher at Seahouses Middle School, said: “I think historically, Northumberland has been one of the poorest funded local education authorities for a number of years.

“And I am sure heads in all phases and all sizes of schools will really welcome the extra funding because it is something that Northumberland has battled for for a long time.”

Other local authorities in the region are not receiving extra money although their funds per pupil have not been reduced.

Gateshead is receiving £104.2m - £4,559 per pupil, Newcastle £147.2m - £4,710 per pupil, North Tyneside £115m - £4,537 per pupil, South Tyneside £87m - £4,750 per pupil and Sunderland £157.9m - £4,536 per pupil.

Durham County Council was unavailable for comment.

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