KEIGHLEY’S MP is supporting demands that more cash be injected into schools. John Grogan was speaking after the Government responded to a petition protesting at cuts to school funding in the area. The petition – signed by 1,530 people – was organised by Craven ward Labour Party, which said primary schools in Steeton, Eastburn, Silsden and Addingham had all seen real-term reductions in pupil funding. It called for the cuts to be reversed and per-pupil funding protected over the lifetime of this parliament, together with a guarantee that no school would lose out as a result of any new funding formula.
The petition was presented to parliament by Mr Grogan in March.
In response, Education Secretary Damian Hinds says that last year the Government announced details of the national funding formula for schools which is supported by extra investment of £1.3 billion across 2018-19 and 2019-20.
He adds: “School funding is at record levels, with core funding for schools and high needs rising from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion this year and £43.5 billion in 2019-20.
“The need for reform has been widely recognised because of the manifest unfairness in the previous system.
“Given the significance of this reform, we undertook wide-ranging consultations which allowed us to hear from – and carefully consider the views of – over 26,000 individual respondents and representative organisations.”
He said final decisions on local distribution would be taken by education authorities, but that under the national funding formula, every school would attract at least 0.5 per cent more per pupil in 2018-19 and one per cent more in 2019-20.
Mr Hinds added that schools in the Keighley constituency would gain 2.1 per cent if the national funding formula was fully implemented.
But Mr Grogan says: “The Government is talking about cash increases which ignore both inflation and the current rise in pupil numbers.
“This means that the funding per pupil in real terms is set to fall in all Craven-ward schools, on average by £282 from 2015 to 2020, according to the NUT school cuts website. This is a total real-terms cut of £352,251.
“It is true that in the immediate aftermath of the General Election the Government did inject an additional £1.3 billion over two years into schools, but this merely mitigated the worst of the cuts.
“I agree with the Craven petitioners that a further injection of funding is needed in our schools in the November budget.”