Our children deserve the best education this country has to offer. We have many excellent and good schools in Kent, but it’s becoming harder for those schools to maintain the standard of education they can offer because of the way they are funded nationally.
- Fair funding for Kent's schools
- A good school place for every child
Schools in Kent are among the least well funded in the country. They receive, on average, £4,380 per pupil, compared to £6,300 in the best funded areas. That is a shortfall for Kent of almost £2,000 per pupil. Already many of our schools have been facing tough funding decisions – for instance reducing staff and subject options – and this simply cannot continue.
The Government is going to change the funding formula which sets out what resources schools receive. An initial consultation took place back in 2015 which led to a series of proposals which were consulted on earlier this year.
One of the factors that has been explored is how best to meet the needs of children from more deprived backgrounds. I am pleased that the intention is to consider what additional funding is required to support not only children who receive free school meals, but also include those children who have fallen behind and need more help to catch up. This is a really positive step forward.
I’ve been talking to schools across the constituency and one of my major concerns is that I don’t believe the current modelling of the new formula goes far enough to ensure that our schools can continue to thrive, particularly those that have historically received less funding under the existing formula. I’ve met the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, on numerous occasions to put forward the case for our schools in Kent and I’ve pressed for the figures to be looked at again.
The latest consultation closed in March and the Government will now be analysing the findings. I will keeping a very close eye on this as more information emerges.
How else is the Government supporting schools?
In parallel to the work on the funding formula, the Government has committed to the following:
- An additional £216 million over the next three years to support England’s 20,000 existing state schools that are in need of repair or redevelopment.
- £320 million has been committed to developing 110 new free schools and grammar schools so that parents have more choice.
New schools for Maidstone
In the past year I’ve received lots of letters from families on the Maidstone side of the constituency about the lack of primary school places. Some families have been allocated schools which require their children to take very long journeys just to reach school, with no direct public transport routes.
I’ve been pressing hard for increased primary provision and was very pleased when it was announced that a new school is going to be built at the KIMS Hospital site.
I’m also delighted that a new secondary special school will also be opening at the KIMS site as this is a facility that is much-needed in this part of Kent. At the moment, parents are frequently sending their children to the extremities of the county, and sometimes further, a situation that’s worsened since the closure of the King’s Reach school in Maidstone.
I’m keen that provision for special needs at the primary level is also addressed, but this is a first step in the right direction.
|Letter to the Prime Minister||230.17 KB|
|David Cameron School Funding Letter||481.16 KB|