THE f40 group, which has fought for fairer funding for the county's schools for decades, has vowed to carry on pushing for further improvements to the government's funding formula.

Worcestershire has historically received some of the lowest levels of school funding in the country, but a year ago the government said it would change the funding formula for schools, with the intention to distribute cash according to the individual needs of schools - ensuring for example secondary schools received a minimum of £4,800 per pupil for 2019/20.

The government’s new national funding formula (NFF) came into force last April and, since its introduction, the group, which has been cross-party and had the support of MPs, councillors, education directors, governors, head teachers, parents and teaching union representatives, has reviewed its position.

Ivan Ould, who chairs the group, said: “F40 welcomed the government’s commitment via the NFF to a fairer system for allocating school funding, and the extra £1.3billion made available for schools between 2018 and 2020. But f40 has fundamental concerns about the NFF and believes it has failed to deliver the level of fairness of funding allocation that is required and there is unanimous recognition within our membership that there is still more work to do to tackle remaining locked-in inequalities.”

The f40 group has raised a number of issues with the formula including that funding continues to be allocated on an historic basis and based on decisions made in the past by local authorities with different spending powers.

The group says: “There is no rationale or understanding of the needs of children or schools. f40 continues to argue that an index-linked activity-led formula is the only way to ensure sufficient funding in the system, which is correctly balanced to meet needs.” The group also says it wants to see plans for the funding formula beyond 2020 and added: “we require the establishment of rolling three to four year budget settlements for schools which are inflation-proofed, including funding for cost-of-living increases.”

Last month, heads from across the county went to Downing Street to demand the government uses the upcoming autumn statement to invest in schools.