School funding should not be a lottery

The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001
The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001
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Earlier this month, West Sussex headteachers and MPs met with the School Standards Minister, Nick Gibb, to raise the issue of fair school funding.

West Sussex MPs, and indeed our colleagues representing communities across the country, made representations with the previous Prime Minister and Education Secretary in support of a new school funding formula. This is now going ahead, and Crawley and West Sussex will benefit.

A key issue raised at the meeting – and one which the county’s MPs have previously raised and are continuing to do so – was the issue of transitional funding until the new formula comes in in the coming years.

Alongside other West Sussex Members of Parliament I’ll continue to pursue the Department for Education on this issue. Indeed, this matter was raised recently by myself and other local MPs in a separate meeting with the Education Secretary.

The current situation where we have a ‘postcode lottery’, where funding is based on location, is wrong. While I welcome the move to put this right I’m well aware of the issues facing our schools now.

This issue was raised again in the House of Commons earlier in the month, during questions to the Secretary of State for Education. Justine Greening confirmed that the proposals which are currently being consulted on would ensure a £14.6 million increase in annual funding for West Sussex schools.

This new (provisional) National Funding Formula would see a benefit to Crawley schools of an extra 8.4 per cent in funding, equivalent to £5.7 million more.

The minister additionally reiterated the record amount of money going into the schools budget, and the protection of the core schools budget in real terms. Through a fair funding formula, the record funding will be distributed fairly.

I encourage all students, parents, guardians, and school staff who want to ensure a better funding deal for our children to engage in the consultation process. Details can be found at: www.henrysmith.info/campaigns/school-funding