The government has brought in new rules on how councils must allocate money to schools in their area. In Cumbria these rules would mean significant changes to the amount of money some schools receive.
The rules give the council some flexibility to try and minimise the negative impact of the changes. The council has used this flexibility to propose implementing the rules in a way that ensures the fewest number of pupils and the fewest number of schools would suffer the consequences of significant funding reductions. But there is simply no way to keep things exactly as they are and still follow the rules.
Obviously for those schools that would still lose money this is a very unsettling time. But the changes will not come into effect for another two years and there is still a lot to do to work out what the eventual impact would be; the final picture could be very different to what appears to be the case now.
Talk in the media of schools being “set to close” or on a “hit list” are completely misleading. The council will be working extremely hard with schools to find a solution to this problem that works for the county as a whole and for local communities.
The council is making the case to government that the rules just do not fit an area like Cumbria and that more time and more flexibility is need to make the changes.
We have asked all Cumbrian MPs to make the case for Cumbria in Westminster; positive action that parents could take would be to contact their local MP to express their concerns.
The council will keep schools and parents informed as this issue develops.