Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has joined 110 other MPs in writing an open letter to David Cameron calling on the Government to deliver school funding reform. The MPs, working on a cross-party basis, ask the Prime Minister to implement the funding formula proposed by the F40 campaign group, which would ensure fair funding based on pupil need.
Under the current system, the ten best funded areas of England will receive an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year, compared to an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.
In their letter, the MPs say:
‘It is widely acknowledged that the existing school funding model is a muddle and that funding for individual schools with similar pupil characteristics is arbitrary and unfair.
‘At a time of spending restraint it is more important than ever that funding is allocated based on need. F40 has come up with a formula which would see the funding cake shared much more fairly.
‘We believe this formula can help deliver a solution. We want the children in our schools to continue to have a broad range of subjects to study, good resources to use, well maintained buildings, reasonably sized classes and excellent pastoral support. Fairer funding is integral to all of this, and we urge you to deliver it.’
The MPs’ letter was coordinated by F40 Vice Chairman Graham Stuart MP, who chaired Parliament’s Education Select Committee from 2010-2015.
‘The fact that so many MPs have signed this letter on a cross-party basis shows the strength of feeling in favour of school funding reform. This is about bringing an end to an arbitrary and unfair system – it’s not about rural versus urban, or Conservative vs Labour, it’s about bringing order from chaos. The Government deserves credit for promising to act and now is the time to deliver a rational, needs-based funding settlement.
‘At a time when the Department for Education is considering its options, we want the Government to be in no doubt that our constituents deserve swift and comprehensive funding reform to deliver fairness for their children. The F40 group has campaigned tirelessly to raise the profile of this issue and has made sensible suggestions about how a new funding formula could be introduced.’
‘I was very pleased to add my name to the letter so that I can help to ensure that schools in Boston and Skegness, and in our wider region, are given the funding they deserve. I want our local pupils to receive their fair share for the very real benefit to their education, so I hope that the Government will give full consideration to F40’s proposals, which will help to make sure that they do.’
- The F40 campaign represents a group of the lowest funded education authorities in England where government-set cash allocations for primary and secondary pupils are the lowest in the country. As the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ remains and in some cases continues to widen, F40 is campaigning to change the way the government allocates funding to local authorities and schools.
- F40’s proposals would deliver fairness to areas which have been underfunded for far too long. The F40 campaign has support from MPs, councillors, education directors, governors, head teachers and parents. Teaching unions including the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) both support a new national funding formula.
- The MPs’ letter and a full list of the signatories is below.
Dear Prime Minister,
Fair School Funding Campaign
We write as MPs supporting the f40 group to call for urgent action to deliver fairer schools funding.
It is widely acknowledged that the existing school funding model is a muddle and that funding for individual schools with similar pupil characteristics is arbitrary and unfair. As a result, schools around the country that are similar can get very different budgets and children with the same needs can receive very different levels of financial support depending on where they go to school.
The ten best funded areas will receive an average grant of £6,297 per pupil this year, compared to an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the ten most poorly funded areas.
F40, a group made up of poorly funded local authorities, of which all the signatories to this letter are supporters, has been making the case for a fairer funding system for nearly two decades and the arguments they make for greater equity are overwhelming.
Ministers have recognised the problem and promised to address it. We welcome this, together with your confirmation that the additional £390 million awarded in 2015/16 as a “down payment” towards fairer funding will be included in the funding baseline for future years.
We are now looking to the Government to deliver a truly fair funding settlement.
At a time of spending restraint it is more important than ever that funding is allocated based on need. F40 has come up with a formula which would see the funding cake shared much more fairly. This has received a positive response from funding experts at the Department for Education.
The f40 proposals would:
- introduce a new national formula, based on a clear rationale and geared towards improving educational standards across the country;
- include core entitlement at a pupil level, reflecting different needs and costs at various key stages;
- use factors to reflect pupil level needs beyond the core entitlement, including deprivation and special educational needs, and reflect the needs of small schools that are necessary in a local authority’s structure; and
- continue to use Dedicated Schools Grant, with blocks for mainstream schools, high needs and early years. Local authorities would be free to move funding between the blocks.
We believe this formula can help deliver a solution. We want the children in our schools to continue to have a broad range of subjects to study, good resources to use, well maintained buildings, reasonably sized classes and excellent pastoral support. Fairer funding is integral to all of this, and we urge you to deliver it.
We would be grateful for the opportunity to meet you to discuss this issue.
And 111 others:
- Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)
- Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbott)
- Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds)
- Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
- Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale West)
- Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon)
- Rebecca Pow (Taunton)
- Karen Lumley (Redditch)
- Paul Farrelly (Newcastle under Lyme)
- Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole)
- Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole)
- David Mackintosh (Northampton South)
- James Cartlidge (South Suffolk)
- David Warburton (Somerton and Frome)
- Kevin Foster (Torbay)
- Steve Brine (Winchester)
- Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton)
- John Howell (Henley)
- Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)
- Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon)
- Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury)
- Simon Hoare (Dorset North)
- Lucy Frazer (Cambridgeshire South East)
- Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
- Peter Heaton-Jones (North Devon)
- Andrew Bingham (High Peak)
- Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)
- Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)
- Sir William Cash (Stone)
- Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire)
- Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley)
- Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
- Nigel Mills (Amber Valley)
- Helen Whateley (Faversham and Mid Kent)
- David Mowat (Warrington South)
- Rishi Sunak (Richmond Yorks)
- Julian Knight (Solihull)
- Heidi Allen (Cambridgeshire South)
- James Heappey (Wells)
- Victoria Prentis (North Oxfordshire)
- Andrew Griffiths (Burton upon Trent)
- Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)
- Alex Chalk (Cheltenham)
- Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham)
- John Bercow (Buckingham)
- Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield)
- Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)
- Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
- Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield)
- Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston)
- Julian Sturdy (York Outer)
- Matt Warman (Boston and Skegness)
- David Tredinnick (Bosworth)
- Robert Jenrick (Newark)
- Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)
- Steve Baker (Wycombe)
- Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire)
- Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)
- Alan Mak (Havant)
- Sir Roger Gale (Thanet North)
- Richard Graham (Gloucester)
- Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire)
- Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset)
- Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge)
- Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
- Peter Aldous (Waveney)
- Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)
- Nigel Huddleston (Mid Worcestershire)
- Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle)
- Sir Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton)
- Richard Drax (Dorset South)
- Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick upon Tweed)
- Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs)
- Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West)
- James Gray (Wiltshire North)
- Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)
- Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall)
- Sir Edward Garnier (Market Harborough)
- Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry)
- Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
- Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
- Daniel Poulter (Central Suffolk and Ipswich North)
- Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest)
- Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex)
- Tim Loughton (Worthing East and Shoreham)
- Jeremy Quin (Horsham)
- Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)
- Ed Argar (Charnwood)
- John Glen (Salisbury)
- David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden)
- Neil Carmichael (Stroud)
- Gavin Shuker (Luton South)
- Ann Coffey (Stockport)
- Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay)
- Scott Mann (North Cornwall)
- Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
- Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
- Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham)
- Rachael Maskell (York Central)
- Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North)
- David Rutley (Macclesfield)
- Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)
- Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet)
- Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne)
- Tom Pursglove (Corby and East Northamptonshire)
- Mary Robinson (Cheadle)
- Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire)
- Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire)
- Helen Grant (Maidstone)
- Damian Green (Ashford)