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Deprived schools in England ‘getting less money after funding overhaul’

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Deprived schools in England ‘getting less money after funding overhaul’

Minister are being urged to pause their education funding reforms after it emerged they have resulted in less money for the most deprived schools and more for the better off, according to a parliamentary report.

The redistribution follows the introduction of the government’s national funding formula in 2018-19 to make the funding of England’s schools more fair and transparent.

According to the Commons public accounts committee (PAC), however, the changes – which are not yet complete – have resulted in a 1.2% drop in real terms per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools and a 2.9% increase for the least deprived, despite the prime minister’s commitment to “levelling up”.

The government is consulting on the final stage of its school funding changes and a move to a “hard” national funding formula under which it would set schools’ budgets directly instead of involving local authorities.

Before pressing ahead with its reforms, the report calls on the government to assess the likely impact of further changes to individual schools and different types of school. It also highlights that changes to pupil premium funding for the most disadvantaged have seen schools lose out on a further £90m of funding.

Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), accused the government of doing the reverse of levelling up. He said: “For all its talk, the actual practice of the Conservative government seems to be channelling money from the worse off to the better off.”

The PAC report paints a bleak picture of delays, uncertainty and inaction at the Department for Education. It accuses the DfE of “dragging its feet” over improvements to provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (Send). The government’s Send review was announced two years ago but there is still no publication date in sight.

It says ministers have also been unable to confirm when their promise of a £30,000 starting salary for teachers will be introduced and the PAC is concerned the DfE does not have a grip on the impact of falling rolls on school budgets.

“Schools are facing a perfect storm of challenges with promises of teacher pay rises, per-pupil funding changes and falling rolls but no clear plan from the Department for Education,” said the PAC chair, Dame Meg Hillier.

“Schools and pupils in deprived areas are being hit hardest by the funding formula at a time when the government’s commitment is to level up. Add to this the ongoing delays in the review of support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities and some of the most vulnerable children are facing an uncertain future – on top of the impact of Covid.”

She added: “Every part of government has faced challenges but the impact of the exam chaos, funding uncertainties and repeatedly delayed decisions is hitting young people hard and risks scarring their life chances.”

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The government’s apparent lack of concern and priority for our most vulnerable young people is, frankly, nothing short of scandalous.”

Nick Brook, the deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “If the government is to achieve their stated goal of ‘levelling up’, they need to look carefully at the impact their reforms are having.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “The national funding formula replaced a system which was unfair, untransparent and out of date where similar schools and local areas received very different levels of funding, with little or no justification. The funding system now ensures resources are delivered where they are needed the most.”

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Education

NECO says no extension of 2024 SSCE internal registration

The National Examinations Council, NECO, has clarified that it has not extended the registration deadline for its 2024 Senior School Certificate Examination, SSCE, Internal Registration.

Azeez Sani, the acting Director of the Directorate of Information and Digital Communication at NECO, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He noted, “The Registration, which started on Monday, December 18th 2023, will close on Monday, June 3rd 2024”.

He said late registration, which attracts the late registration fee, is between Tuesday, June 4th, 2024, and Monday, June 10th, 2024.

“The Council enjoins Candidates, School Principals, Commandants, State Ministries of Education, and other Stakeholders to disregard Social Media posts purporting that the registration period has been extended to Monday, June 20th, 2024.

“The 2024 SSCE Internal will commence on June 19th, 2024 and end on July 26th 2024.

“Candidates will be assessed in 76 subjects during the examination”, the statement read.

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Education

Abducted Confluence University students rescued- Kogi govt

The students of the Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara, Kogi State, who were abducted by unknown gunmen on Thursday, have been rescued by the security agents, including gallant vigilant men.

The students were kidnapped while on campus preparing for their first semester exams, scheduled to start on Monday.

The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement made available to newsmen in Lokoja, on Sunday, confirmed that the students were rescued hours after Governor Ododo visited the campus and promised to rescue the students unhurt.

He commended the gallantry efforts of all the security agents who went all out to rescue the students from their abductors, saying the unknown gunmen were confronted with superior power that made them abandon their victims.

He also disclosed that the rescued students and many other kidnapped victims have been taken to a medical facility for proper attention.

Fanwo said that security agents are currently combing the forests to ensure all the students still in captivity are found and brought home safely.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner stated that in the sporadic gun battle to rescue the students, a local hunter and a DSS operative sustained injuries but they are currently receiving medical attention.

“We commend our local hunters and all the conventional security agents for their bravery and gallantry. Of special commendation is the DSS for acting on credible intelligence to coordinate a fearless confrontation on the outlaws.

“The security agencies have once again demonstrated why Kogi State will remain an uncomfortable place for bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements.

“The success recorded so far is a clear testament of the readiness of Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo to ensure adequate and uncompromising security for the people of Kogi State.

“We urge residents to report anyone with gun wounds found in their communities to law enforcement agents,” the statement read in part

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Education

Ekiti ‘Varsity students caught on camera bullying classmate expelled

The management of Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology, Ikere-Ekiti (BOUESTI) has expelled two of its students filmed assaulting a female colleague.

A video that made the rounds on social media today May 7, showed one Miss Opemiposi Precious Bolaji, an 18-year-old 100L Mass Communication student beating her colleague identified as Miss Gloria Ajayi, a 100L Mass Communication student, in a private hostel outside the University campus.

Reacting to the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Temitope Akinbisoye, said the students caught in the video were summoned on Monday, May 6 and were meted the appropriate punishment for their actions.

”In accordance with our institution’s policies and extant regulations, the students who were captured in the viral video appeared before the Students’ Disciplinary Committee at its emergency meeting held on Monday, May 6, 2024, for interrogations and appropriate recommendations, the report of which has been submitted to the University authorities.

The University authorities condemn in strong terms, any form of violence or misconduct in our University or by any of our constituents. Such behaviour is entirely inconsistent with the values we uphold and the standards of respect and dignity that we expect from all members of our University.

Miss Opemiposi Precious BOLAJI with Matriculation No. 10232, a 100L Mass Communication student who was beating her colleague with a stick and threatening to inflict bodily harm on her for allegedly destroying her 3-year old love affair with her boyfriend was found guilty of misconduct and flagrant breach of her matriculation oath and consequently EXPELLED with immediate effect.

Miss Genesis OSARO, a 100L Mass Communication student with Matriculation No. 10257, who provided the stick with which Gloria AJAYI was beaten, was found guilty of misconduct (as an accomplice) and flagrant breach of her Matriculation oath and consequently EXPELLED with immediate effect.

Miss Gloria AJAYI, a 100L Mass Communication student with Matriculation No. 10295, who was seen being beaten in the viral video but did not retaliate or engage in fisticuffs with her tormentors, was EXONERATED.

The duo of Miss Mistura Eniola ADEJUWON with Matriculation No. 10435 and Miss Precious Oluwapelumi OLANREWAJU with Matriculation No. 11126, who gleefully recorded the video and posted on social media were WARNED and advised to always report such incident to the Directorate of Students’ Affairs and the Security Unit of the University rather than escalating it on social media.

Mr. Olawale AJEWOLE, a 200L Mass Communication student with Matriculation No. 6021 was EXONERATED for making efforts to lock Miss Gloria AJAYI inside a room to prevent further beating.”

The University authorities also said it would want to” encourage anyone who witnesses or experiences any form of harassment, abuse or violence against any student to report it immediately to the appropriate authorities.”

”Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize the well-being and safety of our University community. We will also reinforce our efforts to educate and promote respectful and responsible behaviour among our students.” the statement read in part

Meanwhile the Ekiti state police command has commenced a discreet investigation into the incident. A statement by the Ekiti State Command Police Public Relations Office, DSP Abutu Sunday, Anipr said the state Commissioner, CP Akinwale Adeniran, has already directed the Ikere Area Commander to liaise with the Management of the Institution and ensure the perpetrator is identified, investigated and made to face the legal consequence(s) of her barbaric action

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