Every child deserves a great education no matter where they live. Here in Redditch we are incredibly lucky to have so many ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools, providing a first-class education for students.
It’s well known that schools in Redditch and across Worcestershire are underfunded compared to schools of a similar size only 15 miles away in Birmingham. This is an historical issue and which has occurred under successive Governments. Headteachers I’ve met with in Redditch recognise that and they’ve also acknowledged that the new National Funding Formula is a step in the right direction.
However, on my many visits to schools in Redditch and from my conversations with headteachers, teachers and parents, I do understand the budgetary pressures facing schools in Redditch and across Worcestershire. This is an issue I’ve written to Education Ministers about many times before and met with them to discuss. Along with my fellow Worcestershire MPs, we will continue to lobby the Government for fairer funding.
Progress has already been made on this issue, but I acknowledge there is still a lot more to do. Last year, the Government announced it would invest an additional £1.3 billion in schools over the next two years. As a result, the core funding underpinning the national funding formula will rise from almost £41billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion in 2018-19 and £43.5 billion in 2019-20. The fairer funding formula for schools gives an indicative additional £2million across all Redditch schools.
The Government also announced in June a funding boost of £13million for schools in Worcestershire to create more good school places. This extra money will help create, 1,763 good school places in primary and secondary schools.
When talking about funding we often overlook the fantastic work of teachers who provide our children with the skills they need to get on in life and achieve their ambitions. Let’s not forget that due to their hard work, 95% of schools in Worcestershire are now rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – that’s a huge increase of 41% since 2010.
I’m not complacent though and that’s why I will continue to lobby the Government for more funding for schools in Redditch. This week I have once again written to Education Minister Nick Gibb about school funding and I hope to meet with him to discuss this further when Parliament returns after conference recess.