Leader of Sutton Council Ruth Dombey’s letter to The Guardian on secondary school funding

The Leader of Sutton Council Ruth Dombey has written to The Guardian newspaper in response to this article on secondary school funding in Sutton.

sutton_logo_rgb_540pxDear editor,

Last week Sutton Council made headlines in your paper after local schools wrote to me about reductions in their funding.

Sutton Council has the challenging task of working with schools to manage demands on funding from schools, nurseries and other early years provision, supporting young people with special educational needs, while per-pupil funding is at best steady in cash terms, implying a real terms cut when rising costs and growth are taken into consideration.

The vagaries of school funding and the role that Local Authorities now have in education undermine confidence in the system and gives rise to misunderstandings such as those expressed last week. Local authorities have no control over how much money is provided from central government to distribute to schools. This is a central decision of an ever more centralised system. We have no control over costs relating to pensions, national insurance, pay or the apprenticeship levy. Nor do we benefit from the savings sought.

Funding for education should be seen as a long-term investment in the future prosperity of this country. Whilst the proposed National Funding Formula seeks to redistribute inadequate funding more fairly, the government should instead be levelling-up our resources for children’s education and schools, not increasing resources for some children at the expense of others.

In Sutton we support the position taken by other London boroughs that funding should be sufficient to maintain our good standard of education. Instead, local authorities and the schools they support are set against each other in what can only be described as a race to the bottom that will negatively affect pupils across the country.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council