REDDITCH MP Karen Lumley recently spoke in a Westminster Hall debate organised by Worcester MP Robin Walker on fairer funding in education.
Worcestershire is one of the lowest funded local education authorities in England, ranking at 147 out of 152 authorities. In 2011 the average funding per pupil per year in Worcestershire was £4,028 as opposed to £4,388 nationally. Locally the case is even worse, since Birmingham is allocated at least £700 more per pupil than Redditch.
In March 2014, David Laws MP, Minister for Schools announced that his department would now make funding fairer at a national level by addressing the distribution of funding between local authorities. This will be the first time in a decade that funding has been allocated to local areas on the basis of the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply on the basis of historic levels of spending. The extra money will be allocated in April 2015, for the 2015/16 financial year.
Under the minimum funding levels proposed Worcestershire stands to get a 1.7 per cent or £4.9 million rise in funding with per pupil funding rising from £4,231 to £4,302.
During the debate, Mrs Lumley said: "It has been a priority for many of us since we were elected to see the mess of education funding sorted out. I am pleased that now we are starting to see real progress on the matter following the previous Government’s failure to act.
"Having studied the figures across the different local authorities, however, I am concerned that Worcestershire is still not getting as good a deal as others, particularly given that some better-funded authorities stand to gain more from the proposals.
"I look to the Minister for comment, and hope that after the consultation period some of the figures will be adjusted accordingly. The commitment we have made is an important step forward, and it is worth remembering how far we have come in such a short time.
"The campaign has been about securing a fair deal for our constituents and righting an obvious wrong. Of course, money is not all that is required to give our young people a good start in life but it certainly goes a long way towards doing so.
"Our Government must continue to work to show children and their parents that no matter where they come from or what their background is, we are committed to improving the education they receive.”