POLITICANS across the district have welcomed news that South Gloucestershire schools are to receive nearly £9million extra funding.
The funding is part of an additional £350million for schools in England and will see South Gloucestershire, the second worst funded local education authority in the country, benefit from £8.6million increased funding.
The announcement, made by Education Minister David Laws, follows years of local campaigns and means schools in the region will see their minimum funding per pupil rise by 6.3 per cent, from £3,969 in 2014-15 to £4,217 in 2015-16.
The increase of £8.6million from £137.5million to £146.1million is amongst the highest anywhere in the country.
Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb said until now funding formulas for schools had disadvantaged rural areas such as South Gloucestershire.
“I am delighted by the announcement that the coalition government is putting an end to unfair funding for our schools, which disproportionately affects rural areas,” he said.
“Schools in Thornbury and Yate have been amongst some of the most under-funded for years, and we have long campaigned for a new system.
“These proposals will mean that, for the first time in a decade, funding will be allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending.”
Cllr James Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), Conservative lead member for children and young people on South Gloucestershire Council, said: “It’s great news for South Gloucestershire pupils that the government has confirmed that it will change the outdated and unfair schools funding formula that it inherited, which sees each local pupil receive one of the lowest levels of funding in the country.
“At the moment with the current system, you have this crazy situation whereby two children from similar backgrounds can live a few doors apart, but because the Bristol/South Gloucestershire border runs between their homes, one of them receives hundreds of pounds less for their education every year.
“This is crazy and it has got to change."
South Gloucestershire Council is a member of the f40 campaign group, which is made up of the worst funded education authorities in England and lobbies the government for a fairer funding deal.
The extra money will be allocated in April 2015, for the 2015/16 financial year.