Thank you for your email regarding school funding.
I am grateful to you for the time and trouble you have taken to make me aware of your concerns and I have made a careful note of the points you have raised.
The Government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, but the system for distributing that funding across the country is unfair, meaning a school could get 50 per cent more if it were situated in another part of the country. In order to fix this disparity, the Government has published its fair funding proposals, to ensure that children with similar characteristics and similar needs attract similar levels of funding - regardless of where their families happen to live. This is something for which I have campaigned locally for many years including for several years prior to becoming an MP.
As a result of the proposed national funding formula, due to be introduced from 2018 to 2019, more than 10,000 schools will gain funding, including more than 3,000 receiving an increase of more than 5 per cent by 2020. Significant protections have also been built into the formula so that no school will face a reduction of more than more than 1.5 per cent per pupil per year or 3 per cent per pupil overall.
For our constituency the current proposal would see the majority of our local schools receive increased funding but an important minority would receive less funding. I have consulted widely amongst our local schools to make sure that I clearly understand the issues that are of concern to them. This includes discussions with the Heads of several of our local primaries, including Exminster, Chudleigh, Landscore (Crediton), Christow, Buckfastleigh and Bovey Tracey, along with meetings with the Heads and Governors at Okehampton College, QE and South Dartmoor.
Following my local consultation I recently met with the Schools Minister Nick Gibb, accompanied by Ian Courtney, who is the Chair of the National Governors’ Association and Chair of Governors of Okehampton College, where I pressed local concerns very firmly; particularly the impact of the sparsity and deprivation elements of the formula. The formula is under consultation at the moment and I am hopeful that the Minister will respond positively to the issues that he and I discussed.
I am most grateful to you for having taken the time to write to me on this very important issue.
MP for Central Devon
Comptroller of the Household and Government Pairing Whip