School funding in the North East of England was the topic of a House of Commons Debate led by Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson on Wednesday.
Figures published by SCHOOLS NorthEast as part of a campaign to drive positive change in funding allocation for the region were mentioned, as well as some of our recent comments on changes to education policy.
Mrs Hodgson looked at the national situation, how the funding arrangements are affecting schools in the region and how the Government’s approach to the education system is affecting “the very nature of our schools, whose purpose is to educate our children and address societal issues, such as child poverty and social mobility”.
She gave Rickleton Primary School in her constituency as an example of schools which will see dramatic cuts, theirs nearing the £150,000 mark. Mrs Hodgson added:
The Head Teacher of Rickleton Primary School, Mr Lofthouse, set out clearly in an email to me, which I have sent on to the Secretary of State for Education, what those funding pressures will mean for his school, from potential staff redundancies to the impact on his pupils’ education, and it is not only Mr Lofthouse.
Many other headteachers across Sunderland have expressed similarly grave concerns. Those concerns were reflected in a meeting I held in Sunderland recently with around 30 headteachers and school governors, who all agreed that our schools were at a crisis point. That led me to securing this debate today.
Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, mentioned analysis carried out by SCHOOLS NorthEast on what a fairer funding formula would look like, which shows that our region’s schools would benefit from an extra £42m if funded at national level and £320m if funded at London levels.
This was followed up by MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North Catherine McKinnell’s mention of our plea to Chancellor Phillip Hammond prior to his first Budget and our comments on the extra funding announced to help rebuild and refurbish existing schools.
Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah also mentioned that Kenton School announced it was losing 24 staff members, including three teaching posts, due to funding shortfalls.
SCHOOLS NorthEast is strongly campaigning for a fairer distribution of funding to schools and we have urged school leaders to join forces and write to their MPs to raise concerns over the issue. You can read our response to stage 2 of the National Funding Formula consultation here.