£28.4 million injection for local schools

SCHOOLCHILDREN in the borough will benefit from  an extra £212 per pupil towards their education, the Government announced  on Thursday.

It represents the biggest step towards fairer funding in a decade, and Woking’s Jonathan Lord MP was among those most delighted.

WELCOME - Jonathan Lord MP

WELCOME – Jonathan Lord MP

He said: “It is an extremely welcome decision. This money just goes towards redressing the budget for our children’s education.

“Labour failed to address the unfairness in our system which meant that our local schools haven’t received the funding they deserve.

“That’s why I welcome this cash boost. It means our schools will get the resources they are entitled to and will help improve the quality of education for all children in Woking.

“I had approached ministers to make the case for Surrey and I am very pleased with the result.”

The county’s budget will increase by 5.2 per cent from the academic year 2014/15, resulting in a £28.4 million boost for 2015/16.

Mr Lord added: “Children in Woking deserve the very best so they can gain the skills they need to get on in life.”

A total £390m cash boost is to go to the least fairly funded areas in the country in what has been the most dramatic move in 10 years.

Mr Lord said: “This new money is part of our long-term economic plan to help young people to have the best schools and skills to succeed.”

The Department for Education’s decision came about after widespread recognition that the current schools funding system was unfair and out of date.

A national cash injection proposal, initially worth £350m, was put out for consultation in March. The Government response confirmed there was an overwhelming view that the current funding system is unfair and, in the final announcement made last week by the Department for Education, that amount was increased by £40m.

The department stated: “We have heard many examples of very similar schools attracting very different budgets. We are committed to addressing this so that, across the country, schools have a fair funding allocation that equips them to
provide a world-class education.

“This is a big step towards fully fair funding. For the first time in a decade, funds are to be allocated to local areas on the basis of  the actual characteristics of their pupils and schools, rather than simply the school’s historic levels
of spending.”

The department also assured other authorities the extra funding would not be at their expense.They said the increase will apply to the least fairly funded areas, while ensuring no other authority’s ‘per pupil’ funding will be reduced.

All 11 district and borough authorities in Surrey will receive the £28.4m.

Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, Councillor Linda Kemeny, said: “I am very pleased the Department for Education has now agreed the outcome of its consultation which will increase Surrey schools’ funding for 2015/16.

“The Government initially proposed an increase for Surrey of £25m, but we believe this has been increased further due to the unprecedented growth in pupil numbers, and will continue to be spent on giving our children the best teaching in our classrooms.

“The county council have embarked on the biggest investment programme ever to create 20,000 additional school places by 2019, spending around £350m to meet the growing demand for places.”

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