Education Secretary Justine Greening today announced what she described as “the biggest improvement in the school funding system for well over a decade” in a statement to the House of Commons. She said that £1.3 billion would be added to the core schools budget in both 2018/19 and 2019/20. This means that the Government will have invested £2.6 billion towards its 4-year manifesto promise of £4 billion within just 2 years. The Secretary of State also announced that all schools in the UK will be guaranteed a cash increase of at least 0.5% per pupil per year over the next two years, with the worst funded schools seeing their per pupil funding rise by 3% per year. Significantly, she also committed to a target threshold of at least £4,800 of funding per pupil for every school in the UK.
This is a fantastic and significant announcement for schools across the UK. As someone who represents a rural constituency and has long lobbied for a fairer funding formula for schools, I cannot overstate how important this investment will be for children in my constituency and other rural constituencies like it.
Average per pupil funding in Worcestershire is £4,319, meaning that the pledge for every school to have per pupil funding of at least £4,800 will have an enormous impact on schools in the county. I have stood up in Parliament a number of times to make the point that disparities in school funding are unfair and must be addressed and I am glad that the Government has not only listened to such concerns but has also acted decisively to tackle them.
I applaud anyone who has engaged with the consultation that underpinned this success, and was delighted to hear that more than 25,000 people responded to it directly. Many teachers and other constituents in Mid Worcestershire have told me that they have engaged with this consultation and they can be happy today knowing that their desire to voice their opinions has contributed to this significant and fairly distributed additional investment.
I look forward to the release of the response to the consultation in September and also anticipate seeing the effects of the funding that has been announced today in schools across Worcestershire in the coming years.