Fairer pupil funding is something I have been fighting for for a long time. It is completely unacceptable that pupils in London can receive over £8,000 per head while pupils in, mainly rural areas such as Shropshire, receive nearly half that. I am glad, therefore, that the Government has recognised this and that funding for Shropshire overall has increased as a result of this new funding formula. This will ensure every child is funded fairly and according to their specific needs, delivering the pledge to build a country where success is based on merit, not privilege. This will help to turn Britain into a country where success is defined by work and talent, not birth or circumstance.
As a result of the proposed national funding formula, due to be introduced from 2018, more than 10,000 schools would gain funding, including more than 3,000 receiving an increase of more than 5 per cent by 2020. The formula includes significant protections so that no school would face a reduction of more than more than 1.5 per cent per pupil per year or 3 per cent per pupil overall.
It would appear that the claims made by the NUT and ATL are misleading and based on poor evidence. To suggest that money is being taken out of the schools system is simply incorrect. The schools budget has been protected and this year it totals over £40 billion which is the highest ever on record. The unions completely ignore the fact that pupil numbers are rising. Because per pupil funding is protected at current rates, more pupils mean more money in our schools. Taking per pupil funding and rising pupil numbers together, the school budget will be protected in real terms overall in this parliament.
I recognise that there will be some schools, including some in Shrewsbury, that will be subject to a reduction in funding and I will do what I can to make case by case representations to the Department for Education where possible. Please do let me know if you would like me to do so. However, overall the proposed reforms will mean an end to historical unfairness and underfunding for certain schools, giving parents the confidence that every child will have an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential. Every child should have access to a good school place - one that gives them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future.
If you feel I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact my office on 01743 233 646.