Education Funding

10th March 2017
Over recent weeks I have received correspondence from head teachers in my constituency, who have raised with me their serious concerns about the National Funding Formula proposed by the Department for Education.
The plans, announced by the Government, aim to end the historical postcode lottery, which has for so long left schools in rural Torridge and West Devon struggling with less funding than their equivalents elsewhere in the country. However, while overall most schools in Devon will do better, there are real fears that the proposed changes to the funding formula will have a detrimental impact on the levels of funding available to some of our schools.
The core schools budget has been protected in real terms since 2010, yet the system for distributing that funding across the country has not been fair. In 2010, Devon’s schoolchildren received approximately £380 per head less than the national average. Since then, the gap has been progressively reduced by the Conservative Government to under £300.  The new fairer funding proposals aim to fix still further this disparity, ensuring that children with similar characteristics and similar needs attract similar levels of funding - regardless of where their families happen to live.
However, the new proposals have some unintended effects and anomalies which would produce reductions in funding for some schools. As the Member of Parliament for Torridge  and West Devon, I have long pressed for fairer funding for schools in our rural area, and in view of the concerns raised with me by the head teachers in this area, I recently met the Secretary of State for Education to draw these problems to her attention, highlighting the difficulties that the proposed formula pose not only for specific schools in the constituency but also the larger rural region. I am seeing her again next week. I have also written to the Schools Minister about this matter and remain in close contact with him.
In addition, I have been working closely with other MPs in Devon s to ensure that concerns regarding education funding in Devon are assiduously represented to the Department, and I recently met the heads of the Devon Association of Primary Head teachers and the Devon Association of Secondary Head teachers prior to meeting the Education Minister with whom they raised their concerns directly. 
The Government’s consultation will remain open until 22 March, and I would urge anyone interested to contribute. The consultation can be found at Meanwhile, I will continue to press the Government to ensure education funding for our rural area is fairer and the anomalies in the current proposals are addressed.