In my final column of this Parliament I am pleased to report on the Government’s latest commitment to increasing both the quality and equality within our schooling system.
The Conservatives latest pledge to increase school funding by an additional £1.3 billion in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 is very good news. Moreover this additional investment is being funded in full from efficiencies and savings – we are cutting costs but not corners!
The fairer funding formula will allow us to ensure that we distribute funding fairly and transparently, with increased resources going to the schools that need them most and ending the unfair postcode lottery.
Having now received over 25,000 responses to the fairer funding formula it is clear that whilst it is fair to give under-funded schools an increase of 3% it would not be right to take away from others. For this reason no school will lose any funding as a result of the new formula and we will provide a 0.5% cash increase for every school in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Further to this we will ensure that every secondary school receives at least £4,800 per pupil. This is particularly important to us in Sutton Coldfield.
It remains our goal that school budgets should be set on the basis of a single national formula to ensure that pupils with the same characteristics attract the same level of funding, wherever they live.
In short the reforms will tackle the inequality within our schooling system whilst ensuring that no school loses funding and that the overall schooling budget will receive an additional £2.6 billion.
Obviously we still have the formula to agree – and I will continue to press the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, to agree changes to the draft formula to recognise Sutton Coldfield’s special position. I have, therefore, arranged for Nick Gibb to pay a visit to the Royal Town and meet with Sutton’s Headteachers this autumn.