CHANGES to how schools are funded could result in more than half of schools in County Durham having their budgets cut.

Durham County Council says the Government’s new national funding formula is likely to lead to redundancies, with the possibility of some smaller schools becoming financially unviable.

Members of the children and young people’s scrutiny committee discussed implications of the formula, which is aimed at ending a national “postcode lottery” at a meeting this week.

The council says it would mean just over half of primary schools and 68 per cent of secondary schools in County Durham will lose funding.

Committee member Cllr John Hart said: “These proposals punish smaller schools, rural schools and schools in the poorest areas meaning Durham will be hit hardest if the government doesn’t reconsider.”

Cllr Joe Armstrong said: “As far as I’m concerned it’s dire. We are still trying to digest the full implications.”

The council says 111 of 215 primary schools would see a reduction in funding, with the average loss just under £10,000, while 21 of 31 secondary schools would see an average reduction of £47,905.

A council report says: “This will be disappointing news for a number of schools and governing bodies who were hoping for more significant regional distribution of funding.

“Many of these schools will need to consider some radical collaborative solution to be able to maintain the academic standards we expect.”

Schools losing the most are Seaham High School, on £128,000, Bishop Barrington School, on £95,000 and King James I Academy, on £92,000.

The biggest winners from the changes will be Timothy Hackworth Primary, in Shildon, which would get an extra £169,000, Easington Colliery Primary and Ribbon Academy in Murton.

A department for education spokesperson said: “The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, but the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, opaque and outdated.

“It is based on patchy and inconsistent decisions that have built up over many years and on data that is over a decade old. We are going to end the historic post code lottery in school funding.”

Schools across the North-East will see a one per cent rise in funding.

A Government consultation on the new funding formula ends on March 22.