Children’s Services & Education

Counties lead the way in helping shape young people’s 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.

91% of county families received their first-choice school place in 2016, higher than anywhere else
Counties are responsible for 38% of England’s spend on Children’s Services
County authorities received £4,366 per pupil in schools funding during 2016/17, inner London received £6,414 per pupil
In 2015/16, counties safeguarded over 150,000 Children in Need

CCN advocacy

  • Ensure that the discrepancies in the initial New Schools Funding Formula are ironed out and that all county schools have a core baseline of funding in place for them to operate sufficiently.
  • Championing a strong role for councils in a mixed economy of schools, including fully-funded school improvement and oversight roles, school place planning, and a home-to-school transport functions.
  • Putting forward the case for devolution of skills funding and provision to counties to link up with growth functions, to help grow local economies
  • Undertake further analysis and work to highlight issues surrounding Childrens Services funding and demand-led pressures, and continue to advocate a major role for counties in Childrens Services provision, analysing the impact of reforms and new deliver models.

CCN Education and Childrens Services Spokesman

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council