As part of my role on the Education Select Committee, I'm urging the Government to commit to a multi-billion cash injection for schools and colleges, and bring forward a strategic ten-year education funding plan.
Education is one of my key priorities, both locally in Mansfield and nationally. Although I'm a proud Conservative MP, I've never been afraid to challenge Government where things need to change. A good education can transform the life chances of our young people, and it needs to be a bigger priority.
To make sure we are giving schools and colleges the money they need, the cross-party Select Committee is calling for a comprehensive assessment of the real-world costs of delivering a quality education. We know it needs a proper ten-year plan and long-term funding settlement, and we've identified where we think the money needs to go in our report. Together, these steps would provide stability for schools and colleges, help teachers to deliver for our kids, and ensure that our education system is fit for the 21st century.
A report by the Education Select Committee says funding has not kept pace with the rising demands placed on school and colleges. The Committee’s inquiry found that, as well as coping with growing pupil numbers and rising costs, schools were increasingly being asked to cover additional services – such as mental health, social issues and more complex special educational needs and disabilities provision – without adequate resources, putting the sector under significant strain over the past decade.
The report shows that further education has been hardest hit, with post-16 funding per student falling by 16% in real terms over the past decade. MPs urge a £1 billion boost.
The report makes the following key recommendations:
- ensure schools get the multi-billion pound investment they desperately need;
- urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the base rate from £4,000 to at least £4,760, rising in line with inflation;
- increase school funding by raising the age-weighted pupil unit value;
- increase high needs funding for special educational needs and disabilities to address a projected £1.2 billion deficit;
- implement the full roll-out of the National Funding Formula as soon as feasible, and make the various funding formulae more forward-looking and less reliant on historical factors;
- ensure all eligible students attract Pupil Premium and overcome existing barriers to automatic enrolment as a matter of priority;
- secure from the Treasury the full amount of estimated Pupil Premium money that has not been claimed because students did not register for free school meals,
- and allocate this money to disadvantaged children; and extend the Pupil Premium to provide for 16–19 year olds.
You can read the full report here.