Education Funding

25th July 2017

For many years, and throughout Labour’s tenure of office, Devon has had to put up with one of the worst Government schools grants in the country. By 2010, the annual funding disparity per pupil had steadily grown to nearly £380 less than the national average.

But since 2010, more money than ever before has gone into education and thanks to the hard work of teachers, staff and pupils, 1.8 million more children are in the 89% of good or outstanding schools. In 2015/16, an extra £16.4 million of new money was injected into Devon’s schools’ funding, which reduced the disparity to £270. 

To make the distribution of school funding fairer, the Government commenced work on a new National Funding Formula. The proposals were published earlier this year.

Under the proposed formula, most Torridge schools would gain substantially but some would lose. Furthermore, despite the increased funding, rising costs over the past two years, such as the apprenticeship levy and the national living wage, have eaten into school budgets.

Therefore, both before and after the election, I and other Devon MPs have persistently lobbied both to make the National Funding Formula fairer to local schools and to tackle the cost pressures they have faced. Prior to the election, we held meetings with the Devon Association of Secondary Headteachers and with the Secretary of State for Education to urge recognition of the need for the National Funding Formula to address some of these problems.

As a result, prior to the election, the Government guaranteed that no school would lose out from the introduction of the National Funding Formula and last week, after continued efforts of persuasion and further meetings, the Secretary of State announced that, in addition, another £1.3 billion would be directed to the core schools budget, some from monies that had been set aside for new free schools, to help with the cost pressures.

The formula will now ensure that all Torridge schools will benefit from increased funding, many in substantial sums, and that at the very least, there will be no real terms reductions in their budgets. 

We have come a long way from 2010, when our national deficit was £152 billion a year and the Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury left his famous note that “there is no money left”. However, despite a reduction of the annual deficit by more than two thirds, our national debt continues to increase by approximately £50 billion a year.

In these still difficult economic circumstances, I and other MPs in Devon will continue to act together to ensure that our children’s education is protected.