October 12, 2016
Burnham-On-Sea MP challenges Government over local school funding

Burnham-On-Sea's MP James Heappey has this week challenged the Secretary of State for Education over school funding in the area.

In questions to Secretary of Education Justine Greening in the House of Commons, Mr Heappey, the Burnham and Highbridge MP said he was pleased to hear that the establishing of a National Schools Funding Formula was still a priority of the Government, but added that more needs to be done to support Somerset's schools.

It comes after Ms Greening announced earlier this year that the implementation of the new national funding formula has been pushed back to the years 2018-19.

In his question to Ms Greening, Mr Heappey asked: "Schools in Somerset are hanging on for the introduction of that fairer funding model, so will the Secretary of State encourage the Chancellor to look favourably on the plight of rural schools so that they can be properly funded until that funding formula comes into being?"

Ms Greening responded by reassuring him that she is well aware of the additional costs faced by rural schools and that the Government would "do its best in the second stage of the consultation to make sure that those sorts of challenges that schools face - and need funding for - are met."

Mr Heappey said afterwards that he was reassured that other recent announcements on education policy have not taken away from the Government's commitment to delivering a funding formula, but he remained concerned that the delay in delivering the new model was bad news for schools in Somerset.

"I visit a school or two almost every week and see how lucky we are to have such fantastic schools in our county," he said.

"But our teachers and school governors cannot continue to deliver this outstanding education whilst being funded so poorly in comparison to other parts of the country."

"I've campaigned on this since arriving in Parliament and we have had some great victories already but the simple fact is that our children don't get their fair share of the education budget and it is long overdue that this is put right."

"If there is to be a delay in arriving at the final funding formula, I hope the Chancellor will hear my call to send some additional funding to rural schools to bridge that gap in the meantime."


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