VIEW FROM THE HOUSE
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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