AGGREGATE NONSENSE

21 January 2009

I shall not spend much time on this as I have been here several times before. There is more data about educational spending in Cornwall: Hansard for 19 January 2009, columns 1137W onwards give the per pupil spending for 2008/09. For Cornwall the figure is £4340. There are 148 authorities listed in the data; nineteen have lower percapita funding than Cornwall.

However, my general point once more is that these overall funding figures for local education authorities are meaningless and lead us down unhelpful paths. We can do better than a Cornwall-wide statistic and if we are serious about egalitarian levelling up and helping everyone, including those at the bottom, get a fair deal, we have to focus on the present inequalities within Cornwall.

The education department has produced deprivation data, based on tax credits, for education authorities and schools. In the authority table Cornwall comes in at 56 out of 150 authorities (the lower the number the worst the deprivation). However, the education department has published data for deprivation at school level though it is based on area not actual attending pupils. Look now at the school data: the deprivation indicator for the most deprived Cornish school is 80.58%, for the least deprived Cornish school 23.62%; they rank 1306 and 20 507 in the table of 21 665 schools in England (the smaller the rank number the more deprivation). These are vast differences and they cry out against the unhelpfulness of a single aggregate statistic for the whole county and grounding politics in this aggregate nonsense.

Do look at the original statistics for the explanatory details of the numbers and terms.

Additamentum 29 January 2009

Hansard 28 January 2009 columns 658W-661W give the per-pupil funding for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

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