THE government’s announcement of school funding reform has been given a lukewarm reception by headteachers, who questioned whether it would ease an impending cash crisis.

Education Secretary Justine Greening unveiled a new “national funding formula” (NFF which will see money distributed according to the individual needs of each school.

In a statement to MPs, Ms Greening said “minimum funding levels” would be brought in, announcing this would be set at £3,500 per primary school pupil in 2019/20 and for secondaries £4,800 per pupil.

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Earlier this year, heads of 31 primary and eight secondary schools in Darlington united to send a letter to parents, urging them to lobby the government before a £7m black hole develops in their budgets by 2020.

Schools in Darlington were less than impressed with the latest announcement.

Dean Judson, head of Hurworth School, said: “I welcome the National Funding Formula as a transparent method of ensuring equity of allocating money to school across the country. The issue is not the NFF in itself, its is whether or not the “additional” funding promised is actually “new money” or is money that is being recycled from another pot.

“The issue is that schools budgets have been cut significantly over the last few years and any additional money, if that is the case, needs to be a significant to compensate for the cuts that schools have faced over the last few years.

“In a period of economic uncertainty the promise has been to protect schools budgets, we realise that schools are very fortunate to be in this position given this backdrop, but a promise to protect must be one must become a reality, not just a sound bite.”

Ms Greening announced in the summer an extra £1.3bn would be found for schools from existing budgets.

Earlier this week, she told the Commons: “Not only will the national funding formula direct resources where they are most needed, helping to ensure that every child can get the high quality education that they deserve, wherever they live, it will also provide that money through a transparent formula.”

Peter King, head of Mowden Primary School, was underwhelmed by the latest announcement.

He said: “The extra money announced will alleviate some of the difficulties, but we know it won’t be enough to cover what has already been taken away.

“I wish that we didn’t have to be in this position of battling constantly and waiting like grateful servants for the additional scraps. This is the frustration; we aren’t asking for a penny more, we are fighting to have less taken away.”