Hartlepool councillors set to call on Government for more money for town's schools

Councillors are set to appeal to the Government for greater funding for Hartlepool's schools amid fears current arrangements are not sustainable.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 1:56 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 1:58 pm
Hartlepool councillors are seeking more funding for schools from he Government. Picture PA Archive/PA Images
Hartlepool councillors are seeking more funding for schools from he Government. Picture PA Archive/PA Images

A cross party group of councillors have proposed a motion calling on the Government to provide sufficient funding for all town schools while it tries meet a £1m shortfall for higher needs pupils.

The motion reads: “We are particularly concerned the funding within the High Needs Block of the national funding system for our most vulnerable pupils is inadequate.”

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill.

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Hartlepool’s deficit for higher needs pupils is calculated to be £1.030m for 2019/20.

Hartlepool Borough Council has already applied to the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds for permission to transfer the money needed for higher needs pupils from its main schools grant.

But councillors say such a measure is not sustainable.

The motion reads: “Whilst this approach discharges the council’s responsibilities we share the concerns of our schools that this approach puts increased financial pressure on the Schools Block of funding and is not sustainable.

“It is therefore proposed that the Council writes to the Secretary of State for Education requesting the Government, as part of the 2019 Spending Review, provides additional resources to fully fund the Dedicated Schools Grant such that all of the funding blocks are at least adequate to meet increasing needs.

“This will mean that ALL of our children and young people get the first-class education in Hartlepool that they deserve.”

The motion is being proposed by Councillors Marjorie James, Shane Moore, Sue Little, Brenda Loynes, John Tennant and Brenda Harrison.

It will be voted on by the full council which meets next Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has also called for greater funding from the Government for schools.

Mr Hill paid tribute to the work of the town’s primary schools following the publication of league tables this week which show pupils’ progress in reading, writing and maths.

But he added: “This is happening at a time when chronic underfunding is hitting our schools, buildings are becoming dilapidated and staff are being laid off.

“My fear is such good performance outcomes may not be repeated in the future if adequate resources are not put into schools by the Government.”

The Department for Education has said Hartlepool will receive a 1.3% funding per pupil increase in 2019-20, compared to 2017-18, equivalent to an extra £942,000 when pupil number changes are taken into account.