LONDON SCHOOLS “COULD LOSE £260 MILLION A YEAR FROM THEIR BUDGETS” MP TELLS COMMONS DEBATE……
London’s schools could lose about £260 million a year from their budgets as a result of the Government’s proposed new funding formula, says Croydon North MP Steve Reed.
Some London boroughs are bracing themselves for a loss of up to 20 per cent of funding at every school.
His comments came in a House of Commons debate as MPs were discussing the Government’s proposed changes to the school funding formula, which Labour say threatens to cut funding for London’s children as part of a Tory plan to benefit wealthier shires outside the capital.
“London’s schools have been transformed in recent years, particularly since the London Challenge, which was introduced by the Labour Government in 2003 and which pushed the performance of London’s children above the national average, where they have remained ever since.
“London’s students outperform their peers both in GCSEs and at key stage two, and they have a higher performance rate in GCSE maths and English than those in any other region in England.
“No one here—no one involved in education in London—considers that to be “job done”. “We need to keep up the pressure in order to improve still further.
“In a globalised economy, London needs to compete with the best in the world, and that means no funding reductions that undermine our schools, heads, teachers, parents, governors and, above all, hard-working students.”
Referring to another MP’s comment that it was pernickety to keep education promises Mr Reed retorted: “That is not pernickety; it is a matter of trust—the trust of the electors. “To breach that trust, as the Government do time and again, is absolutely wrong.
“All schools deserve fair funding, and, as my hon. Friends have pointed out today, that means levelling funding up, not down.”
MPs were debating an amendment put forward by Bob Neill (Con, Bromley and Chislehurst) that this House: notes the Government’s intention to implement a new funding formula for schools from April 2017;
welcomes the Department for Education’s commitment to hold a detailed consultation on this proposal;
calls on the Government to recognise the unique challenges schools in London face;
and further calls on the Government to ensure that any changes to the funding model are both fair and proportionate to London’s needs.
Mr Reed, shadow minister (communities and local government), congratulating Mr. Neill on securing the debate. said he was delighted to co-sponsor it with him and several other hon. members.
“It is important to see London members of different parties in the chamber, making the case for London’s children in the expectation that the Government will listen and do the right thing by our capital’s children.
Sam Gyimah, under-secretary of state for education, said he would be delighted to meet the all-party group to discuss these issues before, during and after the consultation.
“We still have a big and difficult job ahead of us. “Reorganising £40 billion of schools funding is not an easy task, and it is one that we should carry out carefully and thoughtfully. “We need to think through the transitions.
“I continue to find encouragement from the wide support that exists for these reforms across the country, throughout the sector and between political parties.
“I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst for putting this matter on the agenda again in the Chamber. “Providing educational excellence everywhere is a key part of our mission, and it is something that we need to do very carefully. “After all, this is about this country’s future.
“A number of important points have been raised in the debate, and they will be reflected in the consultation and in the formula. “I look forward to engaging with Members across the House to ensure that we have fairer funding for all our schools and all our children.
Mr Gyimah agreed to meet with Mr Reed and members of the all-party Parliamentary group for London to discuss how his proposals threaten London schools.