Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, who has been relentlessly campaigning for school funding increases, has raised in Prime Minister’s Questions the shocking issue of council’s holding back extra school funding from the Government.
Maria Caulfield’s lobbying of the Department for Education to see school funding increased in Lewes was successful last year seeing an 8% increase and again this year with a 6% increase. However when Maria Caulfield informed the schools of this success a number of head teachers told a different story, highlighting discrepancies from what the Government were giving to East Sussex County Council for schools, to what the schools are getting.
Following discussions with Lewes Priory School it has been found that £64,000 of funding the Government planned for the school has been held back by the county council.
Maria Caulfield MP asked the Prime Minister in Parliament “School funding in Lewes is one of the top issues on the doorstep with schools in Lewes receiving for decades 50% less funding per pupil than in neighbouring Brighton and Hove. Despite the Government giving a 6% increase in funding last year, schools like Priory School in Lewes, which should be getting this year a 7.52% increase from The Government are seeing £64,000 being held back by the local council. What can the Prime Minister do to ensure schools receive the full funding increase from the Government?”
The Prime Minister responded “I think my Honourable Friend has raised an important point because we have recognised that we have asked schools to do more, we’ve responded to that with the highest level of school funding on record, we have introduced the new national funding formula to make the distribution fairer but of course it is still the case that local authorities are responsible for determining individual school’s budgets from the overall funds that they have received and they have a responsibility to make sure where schools should receive extra money the local authority pass it on. But I will also ask the Department for Education, who will have heard her question, to write to her in more detail.”
Maria Caulfield MP said after Prime Minister’s Questions “I have worked hard to win extra funding desperately needed for local schools and it is disappointing to see some of it being held back by local councils rather than going directly into frontline services for local children. I thank the Prime Minister for her support on this issue. I will be urgently seeking a meeting with the East Sussex County Council leadership to address this issue and will continue to lobby both the council and the Government for more funding for schools across Lewes.”
A clip of Maria Caulfield MP raising the issue can be found at https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/2fcdfa6e-9f95-4fd2-bca1-6d4fdcf57831?in=12:04:00&out=12:05:20