MPs to meet education chiefs to discuss funding crisis in schools

Sir Nicholas Soames
Sir Nicholas Soames

West Sussex MPs are to meet with the government’s education chiefs to press their concerns about the county’s school funding crisis.

The MPs – Sir Nicholas Soames, Henry Smith, Jeremy Quin, Nick Herbert, Andrew Tyrie, Tim Loughton and Sir Peter Bottomley – will meet with minister for schools, Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor and Littlehampton, on October 18.

They will then meet with Justine Greening, secretary of state for education, on November 2.

Mr Quin, MP for Horsham, said: “The introduction of fair funding is a hugely exciting and important opportunity for our local schools. We need to ensure it is delivered.”

Sir Nicholas added: “The Conservative government recognises that West Sussex is one of the areas that does not receive fair funding for its schools, and its manifesto last year gave a commitment to introduce a national funding formula to ensure fair funding in the future.

“The West Sussex Conservative MPs have lobbied hard for this particular change, which the previous government failed to make despite strong efforts, and we are proud that it is to be finally delivered.

“This is a major and fundamental reform which will affect our schools across the country and it is thus proper and wise that the government should consult very carefully about the new formula, which is due to be introduced in the 2018-2019 academic year.”

The formula had been scheduled for introduction in 2017, until Ms Greening to the decision to delay it for a year.

With teachers repeatedly stressing their need for additional funding now – not in two years’ time – Sir Nicholas said: “We fully recognise that there are pressures on West Sussex school budgets in the meantime, and we have been very actively lobbying ministers over the need for interim funding to help.”

He added: “he West Sussex Members of Parliament are seeking a Parliamentary debate on this issue when the House returns and they will continue to push hard for transitional funding and for the successful introduction of the new national formula which will, not before time, make a real difference to our schools.”

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