Dame Caroline hails ‘breakthrough’ in Solihull Schools Funding Campaign as Government announces new formula and cash boost

·       Government confirms historic new National Funding Formula will be introduced in 2018, ending unfair postcode lottery system.

·       Every local authority to see a rise in its per pupil funding for schools as a result of new formula.

·       More direct support for schools to get best value from every pound of school funding.

Local MP, Dame Caroline Spelman has welcomed a ‘breakthrough’ in the campaign for fairer schools funding after the Government announced that a new formula will be introduced in April 2018 and that an additional £1.3 billion funding boost will be made available to UK schools.

The Meriden MP, who has campaigned for fairer funding since the late 1990’s and led a delegation of head teachers to meet with the Schools Minister Nick Gibb earlier this week said that the news was ‘a substantial victory for everyone who have been involved in the campaign’.

For two decades Solihull has faced the challenge of being one of the worst funded areas across the country for education, with local schools receiving almost £1000 less per pupil than those in neighbouring cities like Birmingham and Coventry. In addition to this, borough schools are faced with the challenge of educating over 8,000 pupils from Birmingham and Coventry who do not bring the difference in funding with them.

In seeking to address this issue, the Government confirmed that the new funding model will see local schools gain an average 3% uplift and assured head teachers that no primary or secondary school will lose out on funds as a result of the changes.

In addition to this, it has been confirmed that pupils who travel from other areas to receive their education in Solihull will bring with them the appropriate amount of money their individual characteristics attract - bringing an end to a historic ‘post code lottery’. Dame Caroline said she was “delighted’ by this news”, having long championed the principle that the “money should follow the pupil”.

Following a meeting in Parliament with local head teachers and the Schools Minister on Tuesday, the MP said, ‘This is without a doubt a substantial victory for everyone who have been involved in the campaign for fairer schools funding for Solihull and I would like to congratulate the dedicated teachers, school governors, parents, campaigners and members of the local authority who have successfully campaigned to ensure that local pupils can finally receive a fair deal.

‘Having campaigned for these changes since I was first elected in 1997, I am delighted that a Conservative Government has taken steps to act upon local concern and put an end to the unfair post-code lottery system our pupils have been faced with for over two decades and that all schools in our area will see a cash-uplift’.

Councillor Ken Meeson, Solihull Cabinet Member for Education said, ‘We are extremely grateful to Dame Caroline for her consistent support in seeking a fairer deal for Solihull schools and for arranging a meeting so that the Minister could hear directly from some of our head teachers on the effects of the unfair historical funding arrangements. As a council we have campaigned for many years through the F40 Group for a Fair Funding system across the country and it is good to know that the government has committed to rectify an inequitable formula which has seen schools in Solihull having to educate children on far less money than those in neighbouring areas.

‘I am sure the additional funding will be welcomed by Head Teachers, School Governors and Parents across the borough.’