MP presses Children's Secretary on School Funding

Geoffrey Cox has put urgent pressure on the Government to ensure that a current government review of the formula by which education funding is calculated, is fair to smaller rural primary schools.


Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has put urgent pressure on the Government to ensure that a current government review of the formula by which education funding (the "dedicated schools grant") is calculated for distribution to Education Authorities such as Devon County Council, is fair to smaller rural primary schools, takes into account their special value to rural communities, and tackles the funding inequities between rural and urban areas of the country.

The MP has tabled parliamentary questions and written to the Children and School's Secretary Ed Balls urging him to meet Torridge and West Devon primary school governors and headteachers, and has applied to the Speaker of the House of Commons for a debate on schools funding in Devon to be held as soon as possible. He has also written to the Chief Executive of Devon County Council, Dr Phil Norrey, requesting a breakdown of the amount of money retained from the Government funding for administration by the Council, and an assurance that the County Council is passing the maximum on to local schools.

The MP, whose own son attended a West Devon primary school, and who over the summer helped parents and staff to paint Meavy School in West Devon to raise awareness of the predicament of Devon's schools, has told the Secretary of State that he has seen first-hand how budgetary shortages are affecting the education that schools are able to provide. Staff are being cut, experienced and proven teachers are increasingly being replaced by newly qualified teachers, teaching assistants are expected to cover classes for longer, providing for children with special needs is a constant battle, and parents are often having to help repair school buildings.

Geoffrey Cox said: "I am becoming increasingly concerned that Devon's schoolchildren are being failed by Government policies. I have asked the Secretary of State why a Devon schoolchild should be worth £359 less than the national average, and why the excellent schooling provided by primary schools in our rural communities and market towns should be adversely affected, as they increasingly are, by the constant erosion of their budgets from the County Council.

Her continued: "At a time when billions of pounds are being thrown at inefficient school building programmes largely in major urban areas, it is ludicrous that Devon schools are so hard-up that parents are having to come in to make much-needed repairs so as to make ends meet."

Surgery Dates

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Saturday 28th July
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Saturday 8th September
Holsworthy, Tavistock