Extra £11million funding for disadvantaged pupils is a “sham”, says Manchester Labour Party

There’s rather bizarre news from Manchester, where the Council’s ruling Labour group has passed a motion declaring the pupil premium a “sham” and calling for the policy to be scrapped.

The pupil premium – which was a key Lib Dem policy at the last election – has meant a funding boost of almost £11million for Manchester’s schools this year (rising to £20million next year), with the money targeted specifically at pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

As Lib Dem councillor for Gorton North, Jackie Pearcey, says:

I know that in Gorton and Abbey Hey, this money is making a real difference to school budgets, and is being used to help boost standards.  The Pupil Premium is no sham, the money is in schools now.

It’s at least understandable (if cynical) that Labour opposes each and every cut that the government is having to make, but it really is utterly bizarre that, in Manchester at least, they are opposing substantial increases in education funding for disadvantaged children. Could it be that that’s because it reminds them of their woeful record in government in taking action to break the shocking link between a pupil’s educational achievement and the wealth of his/her parents?

 

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23 Comments

  • Jackie Pearcey 8th Dec '11 - 5:26pm

    Gorton North, not Gorton South…

  • Foregone Conclusion 8th Dec '11 - 6:12pm

    Manchester Labour really are awful, aren’t they?

  • Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett Nick Thornsby 8th Dec '11 - 7:27pm

    Apologies, Jackie – amended.

  • Nasty Labour…..

    Perhaps whilst giving ‘high fives’ you might reflect on the ‘Guardian ‘ article regarding the study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which calculates that spending on UK education will fall by 14.4% between 2010-11 and 2014-15….The education of 16 to 19-year-olds, the under-fives and building programmes will suffer the deepest cuts ( a 20% funding fall in real terms) since the 1950s.

  • Jackie Pearcey 8th Dec '11 - 9:03pm

    Ta. Seriously, what they really object to with it seems to be that they have no say as to who gets the money. For years, Labour in Manchester have tinkered with their “anti-poverty weightings” on the school funding formula, so for instance in recent years schools with less than 30% on free school meals were deemed to be so low on the poverty scale that they wouldn’t get any anti-poverty help at all (cue redundancies). The Pupil Premium by-passes all attempts to fiddle the formula by the Council, each school gets an extra amount which reflects the need caused by poverty. No chance to amend the amounts for political gain? No wonder Labour hate it. At Council they were reduced to claiming that the pupil premium was fundamentally “unfair” because Didsbury got less than the Inner City areas.

    Also, they’ve been heavily leaning on schools telling them to beware of spending the pupil premium as it won’t be around for more than a year. The plan seems to be to try to claw it back at the end of the financial year as unspent surpluses.

  • Mark Inskip 8th Dec '11 - 10:07pm

    @jason

    Will that be the IFS report which states “Schools spending is relatively protected, and schools with the most deprived intakes are likely to see real-terms increases in funding.”?

    Always worth reading what the research really says rather than a partial reporting of it.

  • Mark Inskip Posted 8th December 2011 at 10:07 pm | .”?………..Always worth reading what the research really says rather than a partial reporting of it……….

    Pots and kettles…

    “The figures I gave were from the report which concluded…
    “IFS researchers have provided the first detailed assessment of the Government’s ambitious plans to reform school funding in England – the Government itself having failed to quantify the likely effects of the proposals on which it has consulted.
    The research shows that, after years of failure to develop and implement rational reform, the current system continues to allocate money in ways which mean that similar schools can receive very different amounts. Inevitably reforms, including those proposed by the Government, would involve significant disruption for schools, creating large numbers of financial winners and losers. Even under a reform that sought to minimise the amount of disruption, roughly one in six schools would see cuts in funding of 10% or more compared with existing policy, while one in ten schools would see their funding increase by 10% or more.”

    So, if “roughly one in six schools would see cuts in funding of 10% or more compared with existing policy, while one in ten schools would see their funding increase by 10% or more.” would you agree that, overall, there is a major reduction?

  • @g
    So, if “roughly one in six schools would see cuts in funding of 10% or more compared with existing policy, while one in ten schools would see their funding increase by 10% or more.” would you agree that, overall, there is a major reduction?
    One in 6 is about 17%, One in 10 is 10%, so to know what is happening overall you also need to know what is happening to the other 73% of schools.

  • Jason, as far as I’m aware, the coalition is cutting education about the same amount as Labour was planning to. Actually, because of the Pupil Premium, it’s cutting slightly less.

  • Alistair…The IFS figures were for an overall cut of over 14%
    Tom…The coalition removed the EMA (even though, before the election, both parties said it was safe) and
    Sure Start centres, which are credited with helping fight child poverty, are facing budget cuts of 11% this year and 21% next year.

  • @Jason – you forgot to mention the free nursery places being extended to 40% of 2 year olds. Which is a bit like Surestart, except that kids that get free places and kids of parents that currently pay will all be mixed together, unlike with Surestart.

  • Dave Page Posted 9th December 2011 at 3:50 pm……………..Jason, the Coalition haven’t removed Surestart………………..

    Dave I didn’t say they were. These are not my, made up, figures that say it is facing budget cuts of 11% this year and 21% next year.

  • Mark Inskip 9th Dec '11 - 11:40pm

    @Simon Shaw
    Yes odd isn’t it, “jason” quotes verbatim from the Guardian story from Monday 24th October which was about the IFS’s “Trends in Education and Schools Spending” report then quotes the IFS press release from a completely different report.

    And the press release is about a government consulation on how to reform school funding formula, nothing to do with increasing or cutting funding and not agreed policy, just a consulation on how to distribute the same money more fairly. As that report states;
    “The fact that there will be winners and losers is not necessarily an argument in itself against reform. If one believes that a national funding formula represents the most desirable school funding system, then the
    numbers of winners and losers merely show how far the status quo is from the ideal scenario. Moreover, failing to implement substantial reforms to school funding would lead to a further drift away from the desirable
    system and a greater cost of implementing reform towards it in future.”

  • Mark, Simon…Apologies ; the error was mine…After Mark’s response I went online to check the figures and ‘clicked’ the wrong report…..I’ll try to be more careful in future

  • Malcolm Todd 22nd Dec '11 - 12:41pm

    Hm. Manchester Labour may well be awful — I don’t know. But it seems (based purely on what’s been said here) that they’re objecting to the fact that local control has been removed in favour of nationally determined funding. For which Lib Dems — the party that believes in maximal devolution of power, currently paraded in coalition language as ‘localism — are deriding them. This seems a bit strange; and hardly justifies the claim that Labour want to ‘cut’ spending on the education of the most deprived.

  • @jason – “The coalition removed the EMA” … I do get confused with these three-letter benefits and such. Is the EMA the one that gave schoolkids money for staying in education when 16 / 17 years old, whose scrappage was announced circa 2007?

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