Barking and Dagenham joins London education leads to urge Secretary of State to reconsider discriminatory policy change
Barking and Dagenham took the lead urging Councillors from across London in a call for the government to reconsider a decision to calculate school funding for the next financial year based on the number of pupils classed as ‘disadvantaged’ in October 2021.
The census date for Pupil Premium funding, designed by the government to help disadvantaged pupils with their learning, was changed from January 2021 back to October 2020, which affects the funding available to support the most disadvantaged pupils in the borough.
Across London, the number of people on Universal Credit rose by 53,949 between October 2020 and December 2020. In the letter, the councillors claim: “Many of these families became eligible and registered for free school meals during this period and would have been included in the January 2021 census.
“Yet, because the census date for Pupil Premium funding has been put back to October 2020, schools will lose the funding aimed at helping these newly disadvantaged pupils plunged into poverty.”
The councillors called on the government to reconsider an “ill-thought through and discriminatory policy change.”
They wrote that: “This change in census was announced by the DfE at short notice and without consultation.
“As a result, our schools will lose significant funding which would have helped them support our poorest pupils with their learning.”
In Barking and Dagenham alone, it’s estimated that schools will lose £862,000.
The letter was signed by education leads from London councils, including Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Hackney and Enfield.
Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, said: “These are very significant sums because the level of poverty has grown significantly.
“It’s going to have a very severe impact.”