Schools in northern England are losing out on hundreds of pounds of funding per pupil compared to those in London, according to a report.
Over the last 10 years, ongoing inequalities in funding have meant schools in the North have received less money from the National Funding Formula (NFF) on average than their southern counterparts.
Analysis by academics from the Child of the North group for an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) found that on average pupils in London received 9.7% more funding than those in the North.
Schools in London received an average of £6,610 per pupil compared to £6,225, £5,956, and £5,938 in the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber respectively.
They found children in the most affluent schools in the country had bigger real terms increases in funding than those in the most deprived ones, despite the added strain placed on schools in poorer areas.
This inequity corresponds with children in the North having higher school absences, including health and mental health absences, and worse educational performance.
The report, titled The Child of the North: Addressing Education and Health Inequity, also highlights that children born into the least wealthy fifth of families in the UK are almost 13 times more likely to experience poor health and educational outcomes by the age of 17.
This has an impact on public services in later years, as the long-term consequences of poor education can lead to greater pressure on the NHS and the criminal justice system.
The Child of the North APPG members and report authors called for an overhaul of the current school funding formula.
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside, and vice-chair of the Child of the North APPG, said: “The findings of this report, which highlights the stark reality of the deepening trend of inequality between children born in the North and their southern counterparts are shocking, but unfortunately unsurprising.”
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, said: “It is shocking, though sadly unsurprising, to read about the regional inequalities that children in the North are facing in our education system.
“There is a great need to re-evaluate our education funding, as well as partner with schools and local organisations, to better support the needs of children and young people.
“No child’s chances in life should be curtailed by their postcode.”
James Bowen, assistant general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Ultimately, the real problem here is the inadequate funding of schools overall. It doesn’t matter how you carve the cake up if there’s not enough in the first place.
“We have lived through an almost unprecedented 13-year freeze in school funding and that is why almost every school is feeling the pressure.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Since 2010, our reforms have made a lasting improvement to the quality of education received by young people in England. The overall proportion of schools rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted has increased from 68% in 2010 to 88%, based on latest data. In the North East, this proportion is even higher at 90% and in the North West it’s 89%.
“Overall, funding will be at its highest ever level in real terms per pupil in 2024-25, as measured by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). We are investing in 55 Education Investment Areas with around half located in the north where we are implementing a package of measures to drive school improvement and improve pupil outcomes.
“Before the pandemic, the disadvantage gap dropped by 9% between 2011 and 2019. To support education recovery we are providing £5 billion in extra support for millions of students, including £1.5 billion for tutoring.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub