Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Newspaper column 20 September 2017 - Funding for our schools

After a really busy two weeks in Parliament, we are now back in Recess for the Conference season, which will allow me to spend more time out and about visiting local people, businesses and organisations.

During the last two weeks I have spoken in Parliament on a number of issues, handed a petition in to Number Ten on a single use plastic bottle return scheme, and voted through the EU Withdrawal Bill at 2nd reading.

Right at the end of last week I was also really pleased to see the Government come forward with its announcement on fairer funding for schools. In the run up to June’s General Election this was a major issue. Some local candidates sadly used this issue to scare-monger on the supposed cuts that the Government would be making to schools, despite there being a clear manifesto commitment from the Conservative Party that no school would be worse off.

I am pleased to see, a few months down the line, that the Government has delivered on our manifesto commitment and provided increases in funding for schools across the board. Under this new funding formula there will be an increase the basic funding that every pupil in every school will attract; a minimum per pupil funding level so that, under the national funding formula, all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 by 2019-20; provide for a minimum cash increase in respect of every school of 1% by 2019-20; and provide up to 3% gains per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3% in 2019-20 for under-funded schools.

This is really good news for schools in our constituency and indeed across Cornwall. The average increase in our constituency will be 2.7% with some of our smallest most rural schools receiving well into double figure increases in their per pupil funding.

This is an issue I have been campaigning on since I was elected. Just last week, I questioned the Secretary of State in the House of Commons on the importance of recognising the rural nature of some of our schools and their communities and that this should be a significant factor in any funding arrangements.

I am therefore pleased to see in this announcement that for the smallest, most remote schools, the Government will distribute a further £26 million in dedicated sparsity funding. It is key that the Government understands the different needs of rural communities to urban communities and considers the costs of delivering services in relation to this. Nowhere is this more important than in the education of our children.

There is still much more to do though, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to deliver better and fairer funding for Mid-Cornwall in key areas such as education, local government and policing in the years to come.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or