SCHOOLS across County Durham are set to see their funding reduced next year as a North-East authority starts its transition towards using a new national funding formula (NFF).

Though the formula will not be introduced until 2020/21, Durham County Council is proposing to introduce transitional funding to try and prevent schools facing “significant financial turmoil” in two years time.

The NFF is designed to reduce inconsistencies between funding given to schools, which the Government says has been “unfair, opaque and outdated”.

The government is giving £4.19m in additional grant funding for schools in County Durham, but because of changes to the way it is allocated, 40 per cent of secondary schools and a third of primaries will see their budgets decrease.

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “There are concerns. The NFF is generally meant to be a fairer system and that doesn’t appear to be the case. There will be some schools in Durham that will gain but others will lose.

“It is driven by pupil numbers and Durham has a lot of schools with between 150 and 200 children and they will lose more than most.”

Last month the council approved a major review of its schools light of mounting budget deficits and increasing financial pressures.

It has written to the Government to express concerns that the NFF will result in “significant rationalisation” of small schools.

Cllr Gunn added: “Schools have been underfunded for several years now . To me this is quite extraordinary. The underfunding is now at a crucial level we have not had for many many years.

“It’s going to be a hard task for schools.”

The council has considered three options on how it should approach the change, whether to keep funding broadly in line with the current local formula, implement the NFF early or use transitional funding.

A DfE spokesperson said: “We are going to end the historic postcode lottery in school funding.”