December 15, 2016
Burnham-On-Sea MP welcomes 4.3% funding boost for local schools

Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey has welcomed this week's announcement of a new National School Funding Formula which will bring fairer funding to schools in our area.

Mr Heappey has been campaigning on the issue since being elected last year, arguing that the "funding bias" in favour of urban education authorities was unfair on school children in Somerset.

In the House of Commons on Wednesday (December 14th), the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the results of the Government’s consultation on school funding and with it comes a revised formula for the allocation of the education budget.

New consideration for the cost of population sparsity has led to significant increases in funding for the Somerset Local Education Authority, with an average increase of 4.3% in funding across the county.

After nearly two years of letters to ministers and discussions with local head teachers and governors, Mr Heappey expressed his delight that schools in the Wells Constituency - which includes Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge - would be amongst the biggest beneficiaries from the new formula.

45 out of 46 schools in the constituency see their budget rise with some of the very smallest schools seeing increases of over 20% whilst for the secondary schools, increases of between 4 and 7% would have meant hundreds of thousands of pounds more if the formula were to be applied to budgets already agreed for next year. The formula comes into effect for the 2018-19 academic year with the average increase across the Wells Constituency being 5.1%.

After welcoming the announcement in the House of Commons, Mr Heappey told "This is one of the big issues in the Wells Constituency and I am thrilled that my campaign has been successful. There have been a lot of letters to schools, I’ve spoken about it a number of times in the House and Ministers have been kind enough to meet with me to discuss my concerns too."

"There was something fundamentally unfair about the way that the education of a child in Bristol or London was being funded better than the education of child in Somerset. Deprivation and other challenges were being funded through the Pupil Premium and so the continued disparity in the core formula just did not stand scrutiny. The new formula is fairer to children in rural areas and I welcome it."

"I was pleased that so many schools in the Wells Constituency contributed to the first stage of the consultation and, like last time, I will be writing to them all over Christmas to encourage that they contribute further to the second stage so that we come out of this process with the best possible deal. Today’s announcement is great news for Somerset and for the Wells Constituency in particular but there are other parts of the country for which this formula means less money. We know that is simply the current imbalance being corrected but those areas will fight their corner hard and so we must continue to do the same."

"An education in Somerset deserves the same funding as anywhere else. Today we've gone a long way towards making sure that is the case."


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