Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Devon schools hit by 'faulty' funding

Teacher and pupils
Devon gets 375 less per pupil than the average in England

Devon schools are missing out because of a "faulty" funding system, says a local MP.

Lib Dem MP Richard Younger-Ross said there was a significant underfunding of primary and secondary schools in the county.

Devon is one of the worst-funded education authorities in England - spending per pupil is £3,842 which is £375 less than the national average.

The government said a "fairer funding system" was being produced.

Rural deprivation

Devon's education funding per pupil makes it 148th out of 151 local authorities in England according to government figures.

Mr Younger-Ross told MPs: "We're not asking for special treatment.

"What we want is for Devon schoolchildren to be treated fairly."

He said the system of grants did not take into account rural deprivation and costs of travel.

He cited a series of schools facing funding deficits, including Abbotskerswell Primary with £29,250; Hazeldown Primary, £145,000; Dawlish Community College, £324,000; Teignmouth Community College, £394,090; and South Dartmoor College, £615,000.

The Teignbridge MP raised the issue in the Commons: From BBC Democracy Live

He said: "A fundamental of the education system should be to create equal opportunity. But that is being lost in Devon.

"Devon is not getting a fair slice of the cake."

Schools Minister Diana Johnson said: "Devon has fewer pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds than other local authorities, which is a contributing factor to the amount they receive.

"Only 8.5% of Devon's funding settlement in 2009/10 was for disadvantaged pupils compared with the national average of 12%."

However, the funding formula, the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) was being reviewed and the formula should be changed by 2011.

She said that ministers were "working very hard towards a fairer funding system, and we expect to publish the consultation soon.

"It is our intention to provide all schools with appropriate funding for their area."

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