https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/04/04/education-in-the-media-wednesday-4-april-2018/

Education in the media: Wednesday 4 April 2018

Today’s Education in the media blog looks at ways the government is reducing the cost of childcare, and on the funding being provided to rural schools.

Childcare

Today the Daily Mirror has run a piece on the cost of childcare.

The government has introduced a number of measures to lower the costs of childcare for parents across England. These include, but are not limited to, 15 hours a week free childcare offer for all children aged three and four, and for working parents this offer is extended to 30 hours a week.

This is part of the department’s record investment in childcare support, which will total around £6 billion every year by 2020.

Latest figures show nearly 300,000 parents are benefiting from a 30 hours place. Evaluations of the early delivery of 30 hours showed that we are already seeing the positive benefits the additional hours are having, taking huge pressures off families’ financially, reducing parental stress and allowing them to spend more quality time with family as a result.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Our childcare offer saves eligible working families around £5,000 per child, per year.

We are spending more on childcare than any other government – around £6 billion a year by 2020. This includes an additional £1bn a year to deliver the 30 hours commitment and to increase the funding rates for local authorities to pass on to childcare providers.

School Funding

Yesterday Kevin Courtney, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers section of the National Education Union claimed that rural schools are under threat as a result of funding issues.

The Independent, Press Association and West Morning News all reported his comments.

Our National Funding Formula means that for the first time school funding is being distributed according to a formula based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country. The introduction of the formulae has been supported by significant extra investment of £1.3bn across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above the budget announced at the 2015 spending review.

Specifically for small schools, some may be eligible for a £26m funding pot titled the ‘sparsity funding factor’, as we recognise smaller and more remote schools don’t have the same opportunities to grow or make efficiency savings compared to other schools.

As a result of the formula rural schools will be gaining almost 4 per cent on average through the formula.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Thanks to our additional £1.3bn investment, core schools and high needs funding has been protected in real terms per pupil and will rise to its highest ever level – over £43 billion in 2020. Local authorities now have more money for every pupil in every school.‎

We recognise that some smaller, more remote schools do not have the same opportunities to grow or make efficiency savings as other schools. These schools may be eligible for additional support from the £26m we have made available through the ‘sparsity funding factor’. Across England, rural schools will gain on average 3.9 per cent through the formula, with those schools in the most remote locations gaining 5 per cent.

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