The fairer funding campaign is ongoing, I am deeply aware of the underfunding particularly in schools within the Chichester Constituency, and the wider county. I appreciate that our schools are under ever increasing financial pressure, and are in need of better funding.
I am fully behind the campaign for fairer funding in our schools. Since being elected I have joined the calls of my fellow West Sussex MP’s to ensure our school funding is improved. I have also attended a meeting held by The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening. I have also had meetings with some Head Teachers in the constituency, to go through their budgets in detail to better understand their specific financial concerns. Our schools are performing well, with 91% of students attend a good or outstanding school throughout the constituency, however, I am concerned
I am aware that prior to the election a national debate took place regarding the national school funding ‘pot’. From this the Department for Education held a consultation on major funding reforms, including the introduction of a National Funding Formula (NFF). The proposed reforms have been put forward to ensure funding occurs in a fair and transparent way, with better distribution to currently underfunded areas such as Chichester. The consultation results are due to be published by the Government later this month.
We have received some information on school funding from Justine Greening, who gave a statement to the House on the 17th July this year. In the statement, she made some promising commitments offering “significant extra investment into the core schools budget over the next two years.”
I was pleased to hear the plans that all secondary school pupils will attract £4,800 per pupil over this two-year period. This is higher than today’s average across the constituency.
She also reasserted the Government’s commitment that no school would lose money with the new formula. For 2018-19 and 2019-20, this investment would provide up to 3% gains a year per pupil for underfunded schools, and a 0.5% a year per pupil cash increase for every school. Furthermore, the Secretary of State confirmed per-pupil funding would be maintained in real terms for the last two years of this Spending Round period until 2019-20, and reaffirmed the Governments continued funding protection for pupils with additional needs.
The Conservative Manifesto promised that the Government would increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022 – that takes us beyond this spending review period. The Statement said only that “total schools budget will increase by £2.6 billion between this year and 2019-20”, and that funding levels beyond 2019-20 would be subject to a future spending review.
As your MP I am proud of our schools and their achievements, with 91% of children in the constituency attending a good or outstanding school.
I am hoping that following the response to the consultation the government will set out a clear funding plan for schools both Primary and Secondary later this month.