Interviewed by Richard Moss along with Pat Glass, Labour MP. We will be discussing transport plans, education and academies.
Throughout the 2010-2015 period 4-16 education funding has been protected, along with the NHS and international development budgets. There has also been extra money for free child care for under 3s up to 15 hours a week. I have over 45 schools to look after, including 4 High Schools, 8 Middle schools, one academy and over 30 first schools or primaries. I have visited pretty much every one recently, and particularly pay attention to the High Schools. In the last month I have held multiple meetings with Hexham QEHS, Prudhoe and Haydon Bridge teachers and head teachers.
I have particularly campaigned on two things:
i). Fairer Funding - traditionally for 30+ years successive governments have underfunded Northumberland when compared to urban councils. For example, Northumberland receives over a £1000 less per pupil than many of the councils in Urban Tyne and Wear. We have addressed this with the Fairer Funding £12 million which arrives this spring.
ii). School rebuilding programmes: we have successfully obtained funding for the total rebuild of Prudhoe Community High School. This rebuild commences this spring and I met with the Headteacher on Friday.
We have also campaigned very strongly for rebuilding and improvements to Hexham Queen Elizabeth High School.
Going forward the Conservative manifesto is for a cash terms freeze on education funding for 4-16 education. This is the best offer by any political party on deviation funding. As we discussed in the Sunday Politics discussion the Labour Party have not set out any plans on education funding.