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How London will be affected by the National Funding Formula for schools

The NFF will remove £19 million of funding from London’s schools.
Taking this into account as well as the increased cost pressures identified by the National Audit Office, London’s schools will need to make savings of £360 million in the first year of the new national funding formula (2018/19) to balance their books. No school will gain enough funding from the NFF to compensate for increased cost pressures due to factors such as inflation, pensions and national insurance.
 
As around 70 per cent of a school’s budget is spent on staff salaries, funding reductions are likely to result in fewer teachers and support staff posts in schools, as well as increased class sizes.
 
This is significant because top quality teachers who are motivated and highly skilled are the main reason that children make progress and achieve good results in their education.
 
Without the right qualifications and skills, London’s children will be unable to access jobs and contribute to the national economy. Over 60 per cent of jobs in inner London require a degree and around 45 per cent of jobs in the rest of the capital require a degree.
 
Analysis of the NFF shows that:
  • 70 per cent of schools (over 1,500) across the capital will face budget cuts.
  • The impact is widespread – 802 schools in inner London and 734 schools in outer London stand to lose funding due to the NFF.
  • At least one school in every London borough will experience a reduction in funding.
  • 19 London boroughs are set to lose funding, with losses ranging from 0.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent.
Combining the impact of the introduction of the NFF and wider cost pressures, headteachers at London schools will have to make savings totalling £360 million in the first year of the NFF (2018/19).
 
The savings required are equivalent to:
  • 17,142 teaching assistant posts, on an average salary of £21,000.
  • 12,857 qualified teachers, on an average salary of £28,000.
  • This amounts to cutting 7.5 teaching assistant posts per school or cutting 5.6 qualified teachers posts per school, given that there are 2,297 mainstream schools in London.

If the government’s proposals are brought into effect, 70 per cent of schools in the capital will face budget cuts, on top of pre-existing funding reductions. London will also see larger reductions in funding than anywhere else in the country.

This comes on top of National Audit Office figures showing that educational standards across the country could plummet as schools in England face an 8 per cent real-terms cut per pupil by 2019/20 thanks to wider cost pressures.

Taking everything into account, London’s schools will need to make savings of £360 million in the first year of the new national funding formula in order to balance their books.

But at a time when UK schools are seen as underperforming by international standards, and when businesses based in London are facing massive uncertainty about recruiting skilled staff, there is an urgent need to invest in schools in London and across the rest of the country.

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