OKEHAMPTON COLLEGE Headteacher Daryll Chapman and Chair of Governors Ian Courtenay travelled to Westminster today (27/02/17) to join Central Devon MP Mel Stride in lobbying Schools Minister Nick Gibb over education funding. The Government is consulting on a proposed new formula for calculating how much funding schools across the UK receive, with small rural schools, accounting for the majority in Devon, set to receive more money but larger primary schools and secondary schools potentially losing out with cuts of around 1%. Mr Stride has met, spoken to or corresponded with 120 teachers, governors and parents in his constituency over the proposals, and has recently visited the three secondary schools in Central Devon – Queen Elizabeth’s in Crediton, South Dartmoor in Ashburton and Okehampton College – to discuss the issue. He has also held discussions with Heads at a number of local primaries including Christow, Exminster, Bovey Tracey, Chudleigh, Buckfastleigh and Crediton (Landscore).
Speaking after their meeting with the minister Mr Stride said:
“The Government is right to look at the current national funding formula which for decades has left rural areas underfunded compared to urban centres. Although the majority of schools within my constituency would benefit, I know the difficulties it would cause the larger schools in Central Devon if they had to absorb a cut in funding. I set up today’s meeting so the minister could hear directly from some of those potentially affected and am cautiously optimistic that some changes may be possible to improve the funding for larger schools such as Okehampton College, Queen Elizabeth’s and South Dartmoor.”
Mr Courtenay added:
"We were pleased to have the opportunity to address our concerns about the proposed new national funding formula directly to the Minister. He was clearly interested in our views and listened to our suggestions for reducing the likely negative impacts of the changes. We would urge all Devon schools to feed into the consultation which is now open."
Mr Stride has been actively involved with the Fairer Funding for Devon Schools campaign for the best part of a decade, stemming back to before he became an MP in 2010. The first in his family to go to university, Mr Stride believes strongly in the importance of education in aiding social mobility - his parents due to economic hardship left school at 15 and 14.
Photo: Okehampton College Headteacher Daryll Chapman and Chair of Governors Ian Courtenay joining Central Devon MP Mel Stride in Westminster to lobby Schools Minister Nick Gibb over education funding.