Pevensey MP, Huw Merriman, this week spoke in Parliament and urged Government Ministers to deliver more funding for schools in the area.
The debate in the House of Commons had been called to discuss new changes to school funding. The Government has opened up a consultation exercise which proposes a new mechanism to make funding fairer across the country. The previous funding arrangements had tended to favour schools in urban areas and cities over rural parts of the country. Mr Merriman pointed out, however, that the new funding proposals would see 23 of the schools in his rural constituency of Bexhill and Battle facing a reduction in funding with only 16 schools better off. Mr Merriman called on the Government to look again at the funding model and address the rising costs facing the sector.
“The Government has protected the schools budget and, at £40bl, this country has never spent as much on schools. However, other positive Government policies, such as increases to wages, the living wage and pension contributions are increasing costs for our schools. We have to remember that the schools budget is mainly spent on staff so increases in wages, however welcome, need to be financed or they will end up being paid for from the classrooms. I recognise the need to balance the country’s books so I have urged the Government to take some of the £23bl it has ringfenced for a new productivity fund and use it to help schools manage their budgets. A good education is a key to a prospering society so I hope it will be a good investment.”
Meanwhile, Mr Merriman has written to every state primary and secondary headteacher in his constituency to highlight the consultation exercise and to reassure schools that he is lobbying the Government to deliver more.
Mr Merriman said, “One of our local headteachers has written to me to explain that the situation has caused her to resign her post. This will deprive a school and community of a great leader. I went to see the Schools Minister before Christmas to express my concerns and I will continue to fight for our local schools to get the funding they need to succeed.”