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Statement from Education Minister on Common Funding Scheme proposals

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, has spoken about the proposed changes to the Common Funding Scheme (CFS).
Friday, 25 October 2013

Mr O'Dowd said: "The consultation on the proposed changes to the Common Funding Scheme closes today. To date we have received well over 11,000 responses. I would like to thank all those who took time to respond to this very important consultation. I will take my time to study the responses before announcing how the final changes to the formula will be incorporated and what effect the additional £15.8million will have on each school’s budget.

“The core principle of my proposals, to break the link between social deprivation and educational outcome, has not been challenged, even by my political detractors. The fact remains that those schools with higher levels of social deprivation face the biggest challenges; therefore they require more resources to tackle those challenges.

“I have been accused by some of taking money off schools to give to other schools, however no school’s annual budget is confirmed until it is done so by my Department. Therefore the monies I plan to use are not any individual school’s; they are from my Department’s central Aggregated Schools Budget (ASB) of £1.1billion and will be, as in any year, distributed under the Common Funding Scheme when confirmed by me.

"The proposed changes to the CFS for 2014 will, when confirmed, see more money from the ASB going to schools with higher levels of social deprivation. If that annoys some school principals, even if they are set to benefit from it, so be it. I am more annoyed about the unacceptably high levels of educational underachievement among children from socially deprived backgrounds. I am more annoyed that these young people’s life chances are being decided by their parents’ income or lack of it. I am more annoyed that a child on free school meals will have exactly half the chance to succeed in education than a child who is not.

“We as an Executive, and indeed society as a whole, are either serious about tackling inequality and social disadvantage or we are not. I am serious about it. The Programme for Governmentcommits me to do so.  It states that ‘The primary focus of your Executive for the next four years will be to grow the economy and tackle disadvantage’. I am going to redirect more funding towards schools with higher levels of deprivation to do just that.”

In conclusion the Minister said: “I will continue to examine my own budgetto fund tackling social deprivation and I will continue to work with my Executive colleagues to secure more funding for education. I will not be deflected from bringing equality and social justice to the very heart of our education system.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit nidirect website for more information or watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel.
  2. View photos from the Department of Education in our Flickr collection.
  3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team on Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699715440 and your call will be returned.