School Funding March 2017

Thank you for contacting me recently about school funding.

At the last general election I stood on a manifesto which pledged to protect the entire education budget and I share your concern that we are facing the first real-terms cut in the schools budget for over two decades. Indeed, the National Audit Office has revealed there will be an 8% cut in per pupil funding between 2015 and 2020.

I support the principle that all schools should receive fair funding. However, I fear the proposed new funding formula will simply redistribute a sum of money that is inadequate to support our schools and provide our children with the excellent education they deserve. Indeed, the Education Policy Institute has found that every state school in England will see budget cuts before 2020, after the new national funding formula is implemented.

Schools are struggling to manage significant budget deficits and there are shortages of teachers, not enough good school places, thousands of children in super-sized classes, and a widening attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers.

Like you, I believe the recent Budget should have included extra funding for our existing schools. While the Government has confirmed some refurbishment funding, this only extends to the next 3 years, with no additional funding in the long term. However, an extra £320 million has been confirmed for free schools which comes after the 2016 Autumn Statement had confirmed new funding to expand grammar schools.

As noted by the National Audit Office, it remains the case that mainstream schools across the country will be required to find £3 billion of savings by 2020, to counteract cost pressures. I believe that the focus should be on investing in our existing schools rather than new selective free schools, which evidence shows would not improve education for all.

I believe all schools should be given the funding they need to provide an excellent education for every child and I will continue to press for the investment needed to improve standards across all schools and to deliver an education which enables all of our children to reach their full potential. Indeed, I wrote to the Chancellor on this issue before the Spring Budget, urging him to give our schools the funding they need.

Thank you once again for contacting me and for sharing your views.