Success in the campaign for Fair School Funding

Michelle Donelan visiting St Laurence School in Bradford on Avon
I have welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to introduce fair school funding as part of today’s Comprehensive Spending Review. A new funding formula will set a national rate that every school will receive for each pupil, with additional funding for those with extra needs.

Crucially, from 2017-18 onwards the resources schools and local authorities will receive will be based on pupil characteristics rather than historic political calculations. The Department for Education will consult on the detail of the announcement in early 2016.

The announcement signals an end to the current unfair system, which has lasted for decades and led to a situation where the ten best funded areas of England receive an average of £6,300 per pupil of schools block funding, compared to just £4,200 in the ten worst funded areas – with no objective basis for the difference.

It follows years of campaigning by the F40 Group of poorly-funded local authorities, and a concerted Parliamentary campaign to make the issue a top political priority.

In October, I wrote to the Prime Minister to call for fairer funding to be introduced, and on 5 November I demanded action in a debate on the issue in Westminster Hall. On Tuesday 1 December, I will join colleagues as petitions from over 100 constituencies calling for fair funding will be presented by MPs in the House of Commons chamber.

This almost certainly will mean more funding for local schools enabling them to develop even more engaging curriculums, support good teachers, invest in more resources to support lessons and allow them to spend more on every pupils education. Thank you to everyone who supported my petition and for helping with this campaign, the schools, teachers, pupils and parents have made a huge contribution and the extra funding is a victory for them.

I am delighted that the Government has committed to introduce a national funding formula for English schools, ending the postcode lottery that means children in the Chippenham constituency lose out for no good reason. As always, the devil will lie in the detail and we will need to see the full detail of the consultation, but in principle this represents a huge step forward and is a decision of lasting significance.