We gave the Government credit for addressing the funding needs of small schools in its proposals for 2014-15 through the new Sparsity factor and the separation of primary lump sum and secondary. However, closer study shows that in its determination to give Councils maximum flexibility it has opened the door to a range of interpretations not necessarily friendly to small schools.
For example though the Government stated any school with no other within two miles (as the crow flies) Cumbria is using the apparent flexibility to set the distance at three miles. Norfolk may offer the grant only to schools under 50 on roll while Oxfordshire plans no Sparsity payments. Postcode lottery again: in the current year basic lump sum payments ranged from £42500 to £198 000.
As previously we urge affected schools to contact their MPs and ask them to raise the matter with Ministers. We shall welcome more news as plans develop of other potential or actual abuse of Government intentions in the name of such "flexibility."