Yesterday I presented a public petition of just under 1000 signatures to Parliament. The petition called for a review of school funding to settle, once and for all, the various issues raised and to ensure that there is a fair distribution of funding for schools across the constituency.
A public petition presented by an MP in the House of Commons is a formal procedure. An MP is able to make a statement explaining what the petitions is about and formally place the petition into the petitions bag. A reply from a Government Minister is generally expected.
'I have been concerned about issues of school funding for many years and over time have asked questions of Minsters, arranged meetings for teachers and governors with Ministers, and been part of the f40 schools funding group which campaigns for fairer funding in education. I have become increasingly frustrated at what seems to be contradictory information and data published and want to bottom this out. 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.'
Public petitions are recorded in Hansard (the Official Report of the proceedings of Parliament) and the full text of the petition is sent to the Government department responsible for the subject matter of the petition. It would normally receive a response from the department within two months of it being presented and this too is recorded in Hansard.
'I look forward to receiving the Minister's reply and very much hope that it will help in clarifying what appear to be contradictions and also that any issues highlighted will be address in the next spending review.'
To the House of Commons
The petition of residents of Henley on Thames and friends of schools in the Henley area.
Declares that a funding review is needed in relation to schools in the Henley constituency; further that this school funding review should address how funding increases will be made in relation to schools in the Henley constituency in real terms beyond the amounts already being spent on schools and how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency; further that there must be 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; further that there must be an assessment into the extent and access to capital funding; further that the Basic Entitlement must form an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally; further that the Department and Treasury must ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities.
The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education and the Treasury to conduct a review of school funding in Henley that addresses the issues stated above, in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review; and further requests that the findings of this review are communicated to the House of Commons.
And the petitioners remain, etc
Video link to presentation of petition in the Chamber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJObE2g-l6E
For more information on Public Petitions present by MPs see https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/sign-a-petition/paper-petitions/
For information on the f40 Group http://www.f40.org.uk/