Any delays in rolling out changes to the school funding formula are likely to have major implications for institutions around the country, an influential think tank has warned.

Natalie Perera, chief executive of CentreForum, argues that the new regime should be introduced by April of next year, amid concerns that the current system – frequently criticised by head teachers – leaves schools in a very challenging position.

The Department for Education had published a consultation document, setting out proposals to overhaul the current formula, in March of this year.

Ms Perera fears that with a number of steps necessary to implement a new system, it is unlikely that ministers will be able to make changes in the time frame that was originally suggested.

“The problem is that the department has not yet published the second consultation setting out the details of the new formula and will be unable to do so until after the EU referendum on June 23rd,” she said.

“Without some sleight of hand to the already tight timetable, it is difficult to see how the department can meet its commitment to introduce the national funding formula by April 2017.

“The consequence of not introducing a new funding formula in April 2017? At least another year of a funding system that is out-of-date, arguably inefficient, and, most of all, fails to get money to the schools that are currently ill-equipped to initiate any sustained improvements.”

One of the main criticisms of current funding arrangements is the vast disparity in the amount of money that is handed to schools in different parts of the UK.

Up until March last year, there was a gulf of around 75 per cent between the highest and lowest per-pupil funding rate in the local authorities across England.

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