SWINDON schools received a boost this week when it was announced the amount of funding they are set to receive next year will be higher than expected.

For many years, the town has been among the lowest funded local authorities for schools in the country but in March preliminary figures were announced showing there would be an increase in the Dedicated Schools Grant for Swindon.

However, this week an announcement was made which put the figure even higher. As a result, funding will be £4million more this year than last.

The council will therefore receive around £4,300 for each pupil over the year.

This money will be allocated by the Schools Forum, made up of governors and headteachers, who will decide how it is allocated.

Councillor Fionuala Foley (Con, Chiseldon and Lawn), the cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and is higher than we were expecting.

“Swindon has for many years been one of the lowest funded authorities in the country and while I still think we are underfunded, this is a very welcome boost.

“We had initially been told there would be a 2.5 per cent rise on the previous year but in fact it will be 3.5 per cent.

“One thing I would remind people is that the money is ring-fenced.

“The Schools Forum will decide how the money is spent but it must all be used for spending in schools.”

For a number of years, Swindon Council has been part of the F40 Group, made up of the 40 lowest funded groups when it comes to schools.

Thursday’s announcement sees an extra £390 million provided for these authorities, £40 million more than expected.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said: “This is something myself and Justin Tomlinson have both worked hard for since we became MPs, along with the council.

“I am absolutely delighted with the announcement. When you work that out for a school which has lots of pupils it comes out as a huge sum of money which will make a real difference.