I have been campaigning for fairer funding for South Cambridgeshire’s schools since I was first elected in 2015. I have regularly spoken in Parliament, lobbied Ministers personally, pursued individual concerns raised by schools and spoken out about the current unfairness in the way South Cambridgeshire’s schools are funded.
As you will be aware, earlier this year I resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the Independent Group of MPs. There were a number of reasons for leaving the Conservative Party but one of them was certainly the Government’s failure to ensure that local schools are being adequately funded.
Earlier this year there was a debate on school funding, which was very well attended by MPs. Because of the number of MPs wanting to speak I was only able to make a brief contribution but I made the point again that the Government had to act and consider not only the impact on children but also the impact on the teaching profession, who are working so incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances. If you would like to read my question in the debate, it is here
Although the Government has introduced a National Funding Formula, the historic unfairness about how funds are allocated between schools means that the situation has still not improved in South Cambridgeshire.
During recent Education Questions in the House, Damian Hinds was asked what he intended to do about the lowest funded areas. His response is below:
“Come the spending review, we will of course be looking at funding for education alongside other Departments. Funding for education is vital for our society and the productivity in our economy, and of course, we need to continue to look at how that is distributed through the national funding formula and to consider aspects such as rurality as part of that.”
It is clear to me that the Government has failed to respond fully to the challenge. Schools in South Cambridgeshire continue to be some of the lowest funded in the country and although you cannot help but marvel at their efficiency and commitment, Government is asking the impossible of them.
The new Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, needs to either fight for better funding from the Chancellor or reallocate some of the £1.794bn of surplus balances sitting in some schools’ reserves. I recently wrote to his predecessor, Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, to remind him of his responsibilities and will be writing to the newly appointed SoS for Education, in the coming weeks. You can read a copy of my letter to Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP together with his response by following the links:
We must continue to work together, because at the end of the day we all want the same thing – the best education possible for every child