Stockport Express Column – November 2015

It cannot be right that some local authorities receive 70  per cent more cash for schools than others because of an out dated, highly unfair school funding system.

Today (Wed  Nov 25) George Osborne will announce his plans for public spending and I hope that he will also respond to a strong cross party campaign to make school funding fairer. Whatever Osborne announces we will have to read the fine print because he doesn’t always do what it says on the tin, as we found out with tax credits.

Stockport is a member of the F40 group which represents the lowest funded education authorities in England, who for far too long have had to struggle with the consequences of the unfair system.

Along with 100 other MPs I have signed an open letter to David Cameron calling on the government to deliver a better deal for Stockport pupils. Under the current formula the ten best funded areas of England will receive an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year but Stockport received only £4198 per pupil.

Most people can see the unfairness. The principle that pupils with similar characteristics and needs should receive similar funding, regardless of where they live, should be uncontroversial. Even the Speaker John Bercow has signed our letter which said:

“It is widely acknowledged that the existing school funding model is a muddle and that funding for individual schools with similar pupil characteristics is arbitrary and unfair.

“At a time of spending restraint it is more important than ever that funding is allocated based on educational need. “

Investment in education is an investment in the next generation and children in Stockport shouldn’t be losing out because of a decades old, not fit for purpose formula.

We need a better formula which will see the funding cake shared out much more fairly. I hope George Osborne delivers that today.

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