John presented a further public petition on school funding, this time on behalf of the residents of Woodcote and surrounding villages with schools feeding Langtree School. The petition had just under 500 signatures.
The petition was the next stage in a series of petitions on behalf of local secondary schools and the schools that feed into them to put pressure on Government to review school funding and to establish once and for all the various issues raised and to ensure that there is a fair distribution of funding for schools across the constituency. In May I presented a similar petition on behalf of Gillotts School and residents of Henley. This petition incorporated those resident in Woodcote and in surrounding villages.
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 placed the petition into the petitions bag. A reply from a Government Minister is generally expected.
In May John presented a petition on behalf of Gillotts School and residents of Henley and as a result other people in the constituency wanted to make their views known too. The headteacher of Langtree School, Simon Bamford, had raised his concerns with too and agreed with John to do another petition to give voice to these concerns.
John said "I want to make clear to Ministers the strength of concern in the constituency. As many people will know I have been concerned about issues of school funding for many years and these petitions add strength to my arguments."
Over time John has 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.
John said "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.
THE PETITION READS
To the House of Commons
The Petition of petitioners of residents of Woodcote, Oxfordshire and friends of schools in the surrounding 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