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MP celebrates ‘fairer funding system’ as education secretary announces £1.3 billion cash boost for schools

PUBLISHED: 08:42 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:59 19 July 2017

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Teaching unions recently forecast “apocalyptic” cuts of a staggering £40m across Kent by 2020

Plans to pump an extra £1.3 billion into schools, funded by “efficiencies and savings” in the Department for Education’s budget, have been welcomed by a Kent MP.

Education secretary Justine Greening announced the boost to the core schools budget in the House of Commons on Monday, with the government coming under fire in recent months over the way schools are funded.

Teaching unions recently forecast “apocalyptic” cuts of a staggering £40m across Kent by 2020, with some education figures fearing a four-day week could soon be on the cards if a new funding system wasn’t put in place, such is the strain currently being put on staff.

The Department for Education, however, previously dismissed those claims as “speculation”.

Under Ms Greening’s proposals, under-funded schools will gain increased funding, but the government has also made the commitment that no school will be worse off under the new system.

This additional funding will mean every secondary school receives at least £4,800 per pupil.

Previously schools in Kent were receiving an average of £4,380 per pupil, making them among the worst funded in the country.

Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately has campaigned for an increase in per pupil funding, and wrote to the education secretary before the election pointing out that the Grammar Schools Heads Association had calculated the minimum amounts required as needing to be set at least at the 2015-16 levels of £3,950 at KS3 and £4,502 at KS4.

Alongside the extra investment, the government is introducing a new formula for allocating school funding, which it says will make the system fairer and more transparent.

Mrs Whately said: “This is really good news for schools in Kent, which have been underfunded compared to other parts of the country for years.

“Just because of the historic way schools are funded, a very similar school elsewhere gets more money at the moment.

“Previous governments have failed to fix this - but now our school children will benefit from a government that listens to the concerns of areas like Kent.

“The new formula will distribute funding more fairly around the county, plus there’s a £1.3bn increase to the schools budget.

“Schools should be engines for social mobility, giving every child the chance to succeed.

“Locally we have many brilliant schools, but some are succeeding despite their funding rather than thanks to it.

“A fairer funding system will mean local children get their fair share of the national funding pot.

“I’ve particularly been pressing the education secretary to increase the minimum level of funding each school receives per pupil.

“At schools like Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Faversham, that has reached a level that’s forcing the school to make very tough decisions like cutting subjects.

“I want to see our brightest students taking subjects which will set them up for their career aspirations.

“I hope teachers and parents will be able to head off for the holidays reassured about funding for schools.”

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