VIEW FROM THE HOUSE
THE announcement of proposals about school funding made in the House of Commons on December 14 is intended to help more pupils enjoy the standard of education which is available here, in our schools. It is also intended to bring about fairer funding, which should also help our schools, too, because historically there have been inequalities in the level of funding across the whole country.
Constituents frequently tell me that they chose to live in Buckinghamshire because of the excellence of the schools here. As I often visit schools, I can assure them that they have made a good choice.
The measures proposed should help rural schools (through ‘sparsity’ measures addressed to help where there are smaller communities living in a large area). However, it goes beyond this, to try and reform what the Education Secretary, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, called the “historical postcode lottery”.
Disparities in the current system, built up over the years, meant that similar schools with similar students could receive very different levels of funding. That put many young people at an educational disadvantage. Since 2010, core funding for schools has been protected in real terms overall, but the system by which schools and high needs funding is delivered needs reforms.
The Education Secretary pointed out that in practice a school in Coventry can receive more than £500 more per pupil than a school in Plymouth, even though the two schools have the same proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium.
The proposals would protect resources for pupils from disadvantaged families, together with funding to support pupils who need to catch up with the attainment of their peer group. More than 10,000 schools should gain funding overall.
The consultation which included issues like grammar school places closed in mid-December 2016, so we are also expecting to hear the Government’s response to the public discussion about whether such schools will be able to expand pupil places.
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