Education

Why should a school in an area similar to ours receive 50 per cent more funding than one in West Sussex?

There is no justification for this discrepancy, but it has persisted for too long.  West Sussex is the fourth worst funded local authority, losing out from a formula which desperately needs updating. 

While urban areas may have greater needs than more prosperous suburban or rural ones, what's striking is that even amongst the shire counties West Sussex is at the bottom of the table.

The Government has given the national schools budget relative protection over the next few years: it will remain the same per pupil in cash terms and will not be cut.  So it does well compared to other services.

But with rising costs, this will mean that savings will have to be found which West Sussex schools are less well able to absorb than better funded schools in other areas.

This was the point made to me in a useful meeting which I had in the summer with local secondary school heads.

This week I joined a delegation of West Sussex MPs who met the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, and the Education Minister, Sam Gyimah, who is responsible for school funding.

We urged the ministers to put right the manifest unfairness in the way schools are funded, and adjust grant - if necessary over a period of time - to redress the balance.

We were encouraged by the response we received.  Nicky Morgan said that she was sympathetic to the concerns raised and recognised that West Sussex was unfairly funded.

She said the Government is committed to move to a national funding formula to making schools funding fairer.  In fact this was pledged in the Conservative Party's Manifesto.

The Government has already taken a step towards this aim, giving extra money to the worst funded schools.  But West Sussex received less than £1 million of the £390 million allocated.

More fundamental change is needed to the way schools are funded.  The Government is now looking at this as part of the Spending Review which the Chancellor will announce on 25 November.

Along with my fellow West Sussex MPs, I will continue to lobby for the fair funding which our local schools deserve.


Document type

Articles

Published

17 September 2015

Back · New Media centre search

"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"