The NASUWT responded to the Scottish Government's consultation Fair Funding to Achieve Excellence and Equity in Education to argue for greater investment in the education system.
The NASUWT advocated that the Scottish Government should adopt the following key principles to underpin its school funding system. These are that the funding system for all state-funded schools should:
- provide equality of opportunity and equitable access for all learners, including through the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum, and contribute to raising educational standards for all pupils and narrow the achievement gap;
- ensure that all schools are funded on the same basis, which should not result in anomalies between schools where their needs and circumstances and the expectations upon them are the same;
- reflect the additional costs related to pupil deprivation, socio-economic circumstances, school location and setting;
- ensure the provision of, and access to, high-quality education and related support services for children and young people, including vulnerable children;
- provide equality of entitlement for all learners to be taught by qualified teachers and for the recruitment, retention and development of a world-class workforce in every school or setting as critical components in delivering better outcomes for all children, and that these entitlements must not be based on parents’ ability to pay;
- be clear and transparent so that school budgets are based upon clearly identified and agreed sets of expectations about what work schools should do and the performance expectations that will apply to them;
- vii. be fit for purpose, taking account of local circumstances and needs and the expectations on schools and local authorities, while promoting public and professional confidence in the system;
- be sufficient in ensuring that the global amount available for the funding of schools takes full account of education priorities and needs and promotes fairness, equity, inclusion and social cohesion;
- ensure that changes to the funding for schools do not result in detriment to colleges or early years provisions, which are also essential in providing education for school-aged pupils;
- be responsive to changing needs and circumstances;
- be predicated on consultation and democratic involvement at national, local and institutional levels, including full recognition of school workforce trade unions;
- promote stability for schools and enable schools to plan and organise their priorities in the longer term, and help to minimise turbulence;
- support the best use of resources, through arrangements for strategic planning of local provision, institutional collaboration, economies of scale and the pooling of resources to meet locally identified educational needs; and
- ensure that schools in receipt of state funding should not be able to make a profit and that they demonstrate the provision of good value for money.
As part of the Fair Funding to Achieve Excellence and Equity in Education consultation, the Scottish Government consulted on changes to Devolved School Management (DSM). New DSM Guidelines on school funding decisions for local authorities were published in June 2019.
Local authorities are expected to use the new Guidelines, and the accompanying Framework, to update their authority’s Devolved School Management Scheme as quickly as possible, with full implementation expected by April 2021.
For further information, please see the NASUWT Guidance on the right/below.