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Headteacher ‘incredibly shocked’ by how much Westminster Academy’s budget will be cut

Government’s new ‘Fair Funding Formula’ could see reduction of £1,229 per pupil at Westminster Academy

16 June, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Principal Dr Saima Rana said the expected cuts were ‘incredibly unfair’

AN academy headteacher said she was “incredibly shocked” to see how much funding the school would lose under a new regime due to be brought in by the government.

Research compiled by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) shows Westminster Academy, in Harrow Road, could lose £1,152,223 from its annual budget by the year 2022. The “Fair Funding Formula” – which aims to redistribute funding away from London to other parts of the country – could see £1,229 less per pupil at the school.

Principal Dr Saima Rana said: “Early indications and communications that we have received does illustrate that Westminster Academy will be the worst affected academy in the borough, and we have very real concerns about the impact this will have on student outcomes both in terms of results and enrichment opportunities.

“When we conducted our own research, we were incredibly shocked to see a reduction of funding for some of our deprived groups, which we feel is incredibly unfair and works against the very principles that the national formula is seeking to address.”

The figures are laid bare on the School Cuts website, which published the research. It outlines the expected budget changes for each school based on government funding policy. It suggests that schools in Westminster will be £11,926,869 worse off by 2019-20 than they were in 2015-16.

While a number of schools, including St Marylebone CofE, Paddington Academy and Greycoat Hospital were each projected to lose more than £500,000 by 2022, Westminster Academy appeared to be losing the most by far.

Dr Rana explained that Westminster Academy could be worse affected than some others, due to the high number of EAL students (students for whom English is an additional language).

She added: “Westminster Academy is aware that with the proposals currently under negotiation in relation to the National Funding Formula, it stands to lose a significant amount of funding.”

NUT assistant secretary Michael Parker said: “The government are breaking their promise to protect school budgets. Parents in Westminster should be deeply concerned by these damaging cuts that hit almost every school.

“The government must act now to protect schools.”

The Department for Education’s position is that the current system for distributing school funding is “unfair, opaque and outdated” and the changes would mean more funding for half of England’s schools by 2018-19.

It adds: “We recognise that schools are facing pressures, which is why we will continue to provide advice and support to help them use their funding in cost-effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so they get the best possible value for their pupils.”

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