Ministers have announced how money allocated for new school places will be spent, with Manchester and London deemed most in need. The allocation is based on information provided by councils on the number of extra places they will need to open new schools to avoid a crisis over the lack of places.
Some suburban areas have seen a rise in the number of families with school-age children, due to changes in work patterns, while the school population has fallen in some rural areas. According to official figures, the birth rate is rising faster than at any time since the 1950s with the squeeze on school places in major cities. Since 2010 the government has spent more than £5billion to create more than 445,000 school places, yet this needs to double over the next 5 years.
The free school programme to provide the new school places are in areas of need and give parents more choice as to where their children are educated.
In terms of day to day funding, a paper was recently published by the Department for Education (DFE) confirming that a number of reforms would take place to make the school funding system fairer for 2015-16 and how the DFE are set to allocate a further £390 million to increase the “per-pupil” funding to the least fairly funded local authorities in England, but there is speculation over whether this funding will keep pace with inflation.
The aim is to base the funding allocations on the actual characteristics of pupils, schools and the local area, rather than simply the historic levels of spending by the local authorities.