Education is key for individual life success and for the success of our economy. We need a National Funding Formula that is fair for all. I have made my concerns known on the unfairness of the current formula in Oxfordshire to the Secretary of State for Education on several occasions. I have asked questions of Minsters, arranged meetings for teachers and school governors with Ministers, and been part of the f40 schools funding group which campaigns for fairer funding in education.
Historically the National Funding Formula has disadvantaged rural schools and often successful schools which is simply unfair. Some improvements have been made but this needs to go further. I appreciate that there are areas where additional funding is needed to support underprivileged children but there also needs to be recognition of the costs associated with rural areas.
I recently presented Parliamentary Petitions on behalf of our communities in and around Henley and Woodcote to ask the Minister for clarification on some key issues. The petitions asked for a further funding review on schools in the constituency. It specifically asked:
- that the review should address how funding increases will be made in relation our schools in real terms beyond the amounts already being spent on schools
- how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency
- for a review of areas of inflationary pressures and situations where schools provide additional services such as social care, or deal with criminal behaviour to examine the real costs of providing education
- for an assessment into the extent and access to capital funding
- that the Basic Entitlement form an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally
- that the Department and Treasury must ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities.