Dorset school funding 'a disaster', says head teacher

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Mr McLeman said his school would have a budget shortfall of nearly £300,000 next year

Funding for secondary schools in Dorset is "a disaster", according to one of the county's head teachers.

Martin McLeman has told parents that Wimborne's Queen Elizabeth's School will have a budget shortfall of £286,000 in the next academic year.

It comes as a report reveals schools across England are facing their first real-terms cuts in more than 20 years.

The Department for Education (DfE) admitted the system for distributing funds was "unfair and outdated".

Mr McLeman, who is asking parents to help raise money for the school, said: "Dorset is one of the worst-funded authorities in the whole country.

"Our costs have gone up 12.5%, our income is stable. We have to fund National Insurance increases, pension increases, salary increases and even the apprenticeship levy is going to cost our school £20,000 next year and we just do not have the money for that."

'Postcode lottery'

A statement from the DfE said: "The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17.

"But the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated.

"We are going to end the historic postcode lottery in school funding and under the proposed national schools funding formula, more than half of England's schools will receive a cash boost."

But, Mr McLeman said the proposed change to the formula would only increase the school's funding by 1.1%.

"It's completely inadequate to sustain the levels of teacher recruitment and teacher placement in schools - it's just a disaster," he said.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies report found spending per pupil will fall 6.5% by 2019-20 on 2015-16 levels.

Parents have until 22 March to take part in a government consultation about the national funding formula.

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