Devon MPs are joining a new national campaign for fairer funding for schools. A number of MPs from across the county have joined the campaign for better funding for education with more money for special needs. More than 80 MPs from all parties have written to the Chancellor Philip Hammond urging him to increase funding before permanent damage is done to the education of children across England.
South West Devon MP Gary Streeter is one of the vice chairs of the f40 education fair funding campaign group. He has been joined by North Devon MP, Peter Heaton-Jones, Newton Abbot MP, Anne Marie-Morris, Exeter MP, Ben Bradshaw, and Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston, in asking the Chancellor to invest more cash into education and to make the National Funding Formula fairer. The MPs are urging the Chancellor to make education a top priority in this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review of government expenditure. They say he should:
· Remove historic inequalities and funding protections in the system
· Significantly increase funding for all schools
· Raise the basic entitlement to ensure the costs of running a school are met
· Inject at least £1.4 billion immediately in High Needs
The letter states: “The f40 group continues to have fundamental concerns about the new funding formula. We believe the Government has replaced one unfair system with another, as some of the historic unfairness has been locked into the new formula.”
“We are concerned that the formula does not give enough basic entitlement to schools and allows too much for add-ons, enabling big differences in funding to occur between different local authorities and schools.” They also say they have grave concerns about a lack of funding in schools and the growing crisis in the High Needs sector, with many schools and local authorities reporting huge deficits in funding for children with special educational needs.
Devon County Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for schools, James McInnes, is the national chairman of f40. He said Devon is one of the worst funded councils in the country with every child in one of the county’s schools worth £294 less than the national average. “We welcome the new national funding formula and it has made a difference but it’s not right yet. We are absolutely committed to getting a fair funding formula across the country. We must ensure the amount per child is enough to run a school. Currently schools are relying on all sorts of add-ons to be able to keep the doors open and that has to change.” Mr McInnes said the Government not only had to fund schools properly but it was absolutely vital they put more money into special needs education as well.