PSST, CORNWALL UNSCREWED

20 February 2008

I know it’s hammering the point and I’ve held off putting up this post but here goes. There are two pieces of data to mull over.

A parliamentary answer about the percentage increase in education spending in local education authorities from 1997/98 to 2005/06 shows Cornwall at 96th out of 149, that is ninety five authorities received higher percentage increases than Cornwall and fifty three lower (Hansard 12 December 2007 columns 722W-725W).

The dedicated schools grant for 2008/09 from central government shows that Cornwall has higher perpupil funding than ten other education authorities in England and that eighty seven education authorities, including Cornwall, have perpupil funding less than the average for England. These figures are similar to those for 2007/08 that last year I put here .

Cornwall is not at the top of the funding tables but once more the claim by grievancers that Cornwall is singularly unfairly treated in education by central government is shown to be wrong; Cornwall is not the most poorly treated authority and is not singled out by central government for unique low funding. The complaint based on comparative grounds, on what other authorities receive, fails.

Of course none of these figures prove that Cornwall, or any local education authority, is receiving a fair and adequate share of education spending given its circumstances. That requires different arguments and the grievancers do not make in convincing detail any such arguments. Look at all the deprivation and poverty data I have put on this blog and ask yourself whether the data suggest strongly that Cornwall as a whole is singularly impoverished and should therefore receive as a whole more education spending comparative to other places. However, it may well be that schools in the seriously deprived areas of Cornwall should receive more funding and teachers. Does it make sense to see Cornwall as a whole in terms of education funding?

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