THE GOVERNMENT’S consultation on changes to the National Funding Formula was top of the agenda when local MP Mel Stride visited Queen Elizabeth Community College in Crediton today (09/02/17). QE is one of three secondary schools in the Central Devon constituency and Mr Stride’s visit follows similar meetings at Okehampton College and South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton. Mr Stride met with Principal Rupert Poole, Finance Director Ben Brook and Chair of Governors, Deborah Leighton Plom.
Speaking after his visit Mr Stride said:
“In 2015 the Government injected an extra £16million into Devon’s schools to help improve our funding relative to other counties and the Department for Education is now consulting on further increased funding which on the current proposals will see the majority of schools in my constituency receive more money. However, the secondary schools and some of the larger primary schools in my constituency might potentially lose out, which would partly undo some of the extra investment that came in 2015, and this is something I am urging the Secretary of State for Education and other ministers to avoid. It was very helpful to learn more about the funding challenges faced by QE and I will be taking these issues up vigorously with our Schools Minister in a meeting that I have arranged with him for on 27th February.”
Principal Rupert Poole added:
“It is vitally important that secondary schools like QE are not worse off as a result of any National Funding Formula changes. It was a useful meeting and we were able to explain in some detail the problems with the proposed new formula and the unfairness that it perpetuates. I'm very grateful to all the parents and members of the community who have written in to Mel and others because it definitely makes a difference. I'm cautiously optimistic that our voice will be heard and the government will change the funding arrangements and stop the unfairness, but we need to keep up the pressure. It's not too late to write in or to complete the government's online consultation.""
Mr Stride has actively supported the ‘Fairer Funding for Devon’s Schools’ campaign since before he became an MP in 2010, arguing that funding calculations were too heavily skewed towards urban centres and failed to appreciate the costs associated with running rural schools and the full extent of rural deprivation.
Photo: Central Devon MP Mel Stride discussing proposed changes to the National Funding Formula with QE Principal Rupert Poole and Chair of Governors, Deborah Leighton Plom.