Counties lead the way in helping shape young peoples lives, and protect those most in need. County authorities offer families the second highest-percentage of first-choice school places in the country, and 90% of schools in counties are ranked as Good or Outstanding. In addition, counties offer safeguarding for the most vulnerable: frontline social workers delivered care and support to over 150,000 children last year.
Funding challenges persist in both policy areas. In the last few years, demand for Children’s Services has soared but funding has not matched this demand. Proposed Government reforms, and emerging Trust and Alternative Service Delivery Models will have implications for councils. CCN will also continue to highlight funding pressures in Children’s Services and the impact of proposed reforms on county areas. For schools, counties have been historically underfunded, with per pupil funding well below comparative authorities. In 2016/17, there was a 47% gap in what a school in inner London receives per pupil, and what a school in a county area.
A proposed new National Schools Funding Formula offers the opportunity to address the historical underfunding of rural schools; but it must deliver a core baseline of funding that allows every school to deliver the same opportunities for each and every pupil to reach their full potential. CCN advocates a revised role for councils in a mixed economy of schools, including fully-funded school improvement and oversight, school place planning and home to school transport functions.