NALDIC responds to funding reform
NALDIC has responded strongly to the government's proposal to limit the use of EAL in local funding formulae to the first three years of compulsory education. NALDIC is concerned that this proposal, contained in School funding reform: Next steps towards a fairer system (DfE 2012) will have the effect of making specific educational needs such as the need to learn English, less distinctive and, as a result, less likely to be appropriately funded at a school level. It will also reduce the number of pupils eligible for EAL funding nationally from nearly 1 million to less than 150,000.
Within our response we make the following points:
- educational funding should not be driven simply by ease of application but rather by principled purpose – the aim of a new funding formula must be first and foremost to ensure that funding is appropriately directed to meet pupils’ needs
- the removal of ethnicity as a possible local factor is detrimental to the ability of local areas to sensitively respond to need
- the government's view that '3 years should provide enough time for a school to support a pupil with EAL' is not supported by national or international evidence
- the implementation of the current proposal will remove EAL funding from huge numbers of bilingual pupils from Years 3-11, but these are the years in which bilingual students are most likely to encounter the academic language they need to become successful learners.
- a previous government funded report (Strand 1: Additional Educational Needs (AEN) Final Price Waterhouse Cooper, 2009) concluded that the number of years of residency did not properly reflect the degree of support required by bilingual pupils.
- it is currently complex to identify pupils who have only been learning English in English schools for 3 years
- approximately a third of bilingual pupils may be picked up through a prior attainment factor, but identifying this factor as 'low cost, high incidence SEN' is uhelpful
- funding for this 'low cost, high incidence SEN' will be within a notional SEN budget and spending is likely to be highly contested
We are disappointed that the proposals contained in the consultation do not make good on the government's promises to ensure that funding follows pupils' needs and characteristics more closely.
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