This week’s Questions to Education Ministers in the Commons Chamber were dominated by funding to schools, namely the Governments Fair Funding Formula, which will see an increase in funding for East Sussex overall but some smaller schools will see their funding decrease.
As a result, and following meeting with local Head Teachers across the constituency, Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, met with the Secretary of State last week to raise the concerns on behalf of local head teachers. This week in the House of Commons Maria took these concerns further by asking Ministers, during education questions, what support the Department for Education would be giving to these small schools and in particular asking why these small rural schools were having to pay the apprenticeship levy when similar non-maintained academies were not.
Responding, Schools Minister Nick Gibb confirmed that on average small rural schools would see an increase of funding by 1.3%, and in recognition of the important role that such schools play within our communities, a ‘sparsity factor’ would play a part in the fair funding formula.
Speaking afterwards, Ms Caulfield said, “I share the concerns of many of the Head Teachers within my constituency and I am determined to secure for them the funding they need. In East Sussex we have seen a huge improvement in the quality of our local schools and that is thanks to the dedication and hard work of our teachers. To continue with this, they need the resources and funding to make this happen. Meeting with local heads has highlighted the concerns they have around funding and while I raised this in the House of Commons this week I intend to push further on this and am organising a meeting with a delegation of head teachers and the minister so he can hear first-hand the pressures they are under.
“The Apprenticeship Levy is a further burden upon these small schools, and I will therefore continue to call upon the Government to review the need of the Apprenticeship Levy on small rural schools, such as those within my constituency of Lewes.”