Today John launched a parliamentary petition to ask the Government to carry out a review in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review of how funding increases can be improved in the Henley area and to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency. The focus of this petition is on improving the position particularly of Gillotts School. The review will also cover some technical issues such as the role that the Basic Entitlement plays in calculating the National Funding Formula. In addition, the review would also identify the real costs above inflation of providing education and how capital funding can be better managed.
John said: "I have used Parliamentary Petitions in the constituency to keep issues alive and at the forefront of Ministerial minds. It has worked well and there is no better issue than school funding. I am pleased that Gillotts Head Teacher, Catharine Darnton, is helping with the petition. Such petitions have played a major part in dealings with other schools in the constituency and I hope that this one will ensure the issue is thoroughly reviewed before the Comprehensive Spending Review in order to contribute to it."
The wording of the petition is set out below. Signatures to support it are being gathered with a presentation of it in the House of Commons in the next few weeks. Such petitions are accompanied by a speech in the House of Commons from the MP.
"To the House of Commons.
The Petition of petitioners of residents of Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire
Declare that in relation to school funding the Department for Education and the Treasury conduct a review of the following: in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review, of 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; further, of how to eliminate the gap between the best and lowest funded schools in the constituency; further, to ensure that the Basic Entitlement forms an appropriate percentage of the National Funding Formula used locally; further, to ensure that small primary schools in the constituency remain integral to their communities; further, to review 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, and, further, to assess the extent and access to capital funding.
The Petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education and the Treasury to carry out such a review and to inform the House of Commons of its findings.
And the Petitioners remain, etc."