September 15 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Cambridgeshire schools are to get a funding boost in the next financial year that will see them receive an additional £275 per pupil.
The Government announced today (Thursday) that it was putting an extra £350million into schools in areas that are bottom of the funding league.
And this includes a 7 per cent increase – about £20.5m – for Cambridgeshire, which has been fighting for improved funding for years.
Education Minister David Laws told Parliament the Government was trying to make funding fairer for pupils, with the money available to schools in 2015/16.
He said: “The case for action is so strong that we intend to act immediately to deliver a substantial £350m boost to schools in the least fairly funded local authorities in the country.”
Mr Laws added: “No local authority or school will lose from this proposal but around four in 10 areas will gain and we’re able to deliver this significant boost by using money from within our protected schools budget and because of additional money from the Treasury.”
Cambridgeshire’s money per pupil will increase from £3,950 to £4,225.
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly told The Hunts Post “It’s about time”.
“The school funding system that we inherited from Labour is unfair. It is a postcode lottery that results in pupils attracting very different levels of funding without good reason.
“The Cambridgeshire MPs have all been campaigning furiously on this for several years and particularly over the last year. It’s good to see the Government has listened to what we have had to say.
“The announcement is particularly significant to schools with teachers being subject to lay-offs and tight finances, and will be welcomed by parents.”
Mr Djanogly added: “However, this extra funding will not apply until 2015 and many schools in my constituency are saying that they cannot wait until next year for a fairer funding system. I raised this point with the Minister in the House of Commons today when the announcement was made and I will continue to lobby Ministers on the issue of immediate funding relief for our schools.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “This is extremely good news and it’s good to see the promises made by the Education Minister to myself, Jonathan Djanogly and other local MPs when we met has come to fruition.
“The real winners are, of course, the local children. The money is vitally important to enable them to have the education they need to properly compete with young people from the rest of the country.”
Cambridgeshire County Council gave a cautious welcome to the news.
Cllr David Harty, cabinet member for education and learning, said: “We welcome this news of increased funding for 2015-16. It acknowledges the dire financial situation Cambridgeshire’s schools have been in for many years, as well as the tireless work that has been done by many people and organisations – particularly the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum - to raise the issue at the highest level.
“The extra funding is a step in the right direction – but there is a long way to go. Cambridgeshire has been chronically underfunded for many years and while today’s announcement is good news, we need to continue our work to secure a fairer approach to funding schools in the long term.”