Many people have contacted me about the fairer funding consultation which closed yesterday. I agree that for far too long Cambridgeshire schools have been underfunded and disproportionately funded in comparison to many other areas, and we need to change the funding formula to make funding across the country more equal. I have campaigned extensively for a fairer funding formula for schools in my constituency and I was pleased when the Government announced it would look at the formula.
I have been pressing to ensure a greater proportion of any new formula is spent on core per pupil funding as this will ensure a greater per pupil allocation in Cambridgeshire.
Last week I raised the matter of the impact of the formula on our schools with the Prime Minister. This was the third time I have raised the fairer funding formula with her. I have also raised the matter with the Education Secretary on many occasions. I have taken the secondary school head teachers from the constituency to meet with the Education Secretary three times. I have gone to these meetings armed with knowledge I gained from discussing the issue with many of my schools, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Cambridgeshire Schools forum. I am very grateful to all of them for identifying the points that will make a difference to our schools.
The Government has been consulting on the new formula for the last few months. There has been an opportunity to make our voice heard through the consultation process and I know a number of schools have encouraged parents to respond to the consultation. I too have urged constituents to do so. I will continue to press for the best result for our area, but it is important to mention that the formula as currently proposed does benefit our area. South East Cambridgeshire’s funding under the formula increases by over £1 million, although as the amount received depends on various factors it differs from school to school.
This funding is separate from the Opportunity Fund recently announced for East Cambridgeshire. East Cambridgeshire and Fenland are one of only twelve areas nationally to be awarded an Opportunity Area Fund. I have been pressing the Secretary of State for some time for our area to benefit from this funding and I am delighted that we are the recipients. I am hopeful that the fund will help to improve children's futures.