VIEW FROM THE HOUSE

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - DO­MINIC GRIEVE MP for Bea­cons­field

ONCE again, dur­ing this spring term, I shall be go­ing along to sev­eral schools in the Bea­cons­field con­stituency, with vis­its planned to Burn­ham Park Acad­emy and Bourne End Acad­emy. I am look­ing for­ward to these and to my dis­cus­sions with staff and gov­er­nors, as well as with stu­dents.

Stu­dents from Bea­cons­field High School are in re­turn go­ing to be com­ing to West­min­ster, when they will take part in one of the vis­its or­gan­ised by the House of Com­mons Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vices. I’ll be tak­ing part in the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion dur­ing the visit, so the stu­dents will get the chance to grill me as their con­stituency MP!

The ques­tion of fairer fund­ing for schools came up just be­fore Christ­mas at West­min­ster, when the Sec­re­tary of State for Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced a con­sul­ta­tion on a new na­tional fund­ing for­mula, which is planned to be in­tro­duced from 2018 to 2019.

I was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested be­cause these pro­pos­als are aimed at re­dress­ing what the Rt Hon Jus­tine Green­ing MP de­scribes as the “his­tor­i­cal un­fair­ness and un­der­fund­ing for cer­tain schools.”

This has af­fected schools in Buck­ing­hamshire and bet­ter fund­ing is some­thing for which Buck­ing­hamshire county coun­cil has lob­bied, with the sup­port of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment.

While the core schools bud­get has been pro­tected in real terms (i.e. al­low­ing for in­fla­tion) since 2010, the sys­tem of dis­tribut­ing that fund­ing has built up bit by bit over some years. This leads to in­con­sis­ten­cies. Sim­i­lar schools with sim­i­lar stu­dents can end up with markedly dif­fer­ent lev­els of fund­ing. That is not fair on pupils and it af­fects their life chances.

The con­sul­ta­tion will be run­ning un­til March, so these are only pro­pos­als at the mo­ment, but the ini­tial out­line of the ideas last year met with sup­port when these were con­sulted upon. Na­tion­ally more than 10,000 schools should gain fund­ing, so I hope that in Buck­ing­hamshire we will see more fund­ing go­ing to pupils in our schools.

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