Michael Fabricant tackled Schools Minister in the House of Commons Chamber today (4th July) on the new ‘Fairer Funding Formula’. Michael asked:
“My right hon. Friend will recall, probably with gloom, my question to him two or three weeks before the general election, but, as Arnie Schwarzenegger would say, “I’m back”, and I want to ask him the same question. He told me that in Staffordshire, despite the County being one of the lowest funded in the country, the new funding formula would mean that two thirds of my schools in the Lichfield constituency would benefit while one third would receive a cut. Is he now saying that that is not the case and that all schools in Staffordshire will benefit?”
Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister replied:
“I am very happy to see my hon. Friend back in his place. He is absolutely right that no school in his constituency will see a cut in funding….. As we have said, we are spending record amounts of money on school funding—£41 billion this year rising to £42 billion next year—and we are moving to a fairer way of distributing that funding. We said in our manifesto that even where the new fairer funding system would have resulted in a cut in funding to some schools, that will no longer be the case, so no school will see a cut in per-pupil funding under this Government.”
Michael Fabricant now says: “Schools have been under huge pressure as running costs have exceeded their income per pupil so I am pleased that the Government has recognised the problem and will provide top-up funding. Staffordshire has always received less than other counties per pupil and this has continued unchecked for over 30 years. So I welcomed the new Fairer Funding Formula when it was introduced. But I was shocked and dismayed when the schools minister told me before the June election that while two-thirds of schools in the Lichfield constituency would get a funding hike, one-third would receive a cut in income. At the time, I told the minister in the Chamber that this was ‘unacceptable’.
“So I am glad that the Government has taken this on board. We must now ensure that funding keeps pace with increased schools running costs.”