Tuesday, 19 June 2012

School Funding debate and Prudhoe expecting a visit

Good news on School Funding: yesterday was the first Education questions since May 24th announcement that Prudhoe was going to get a government support for its ailing school buildings. I was able to raise the school funding issue in parliament and thank the DOE for their decision. A Liberal colleague also helpfully provided a follow up on the situation as to the future funding formula and how rural counties will fare.  The full exchange, along with all folow on questions is here:  http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-06-18a.589.3&s=speaker%3A24962#g589.6

Foe ease of reference I set out the key Q+A of Michael Gove:

Guy Opperman (Hexham, Conservative)
What is his policy is on funding by his Department of schools in Northumberland; and if he will make a statement.

Michael Gove (Secretary of State, Education; Surrey Heath, Conservative)
We plan to introduce a new national funding formula in the next spending period. It is, however, important that we introduce reform at a pace that schools can manage. As a first step towards a new formula, we are simplifying local funding arrangements from 2013-14, ensuring that more funding is passed to schools.
Guy Opperman (Hexham, Conservative)
The decision on 24 May to grant Prudhoe community high school a rebuild was wonderful news and formed a great birthday present for its head teacher, Dr Iain Shaw. It was also a huge boost to a community that had been long neglected in terms of funding. May I invite the Secretary of State to visit this fantastic school when the rebuild is complete to see for himself the positive difference that it makes, both to the school and to the wider community?

Michael Gove (Secretary of State, Education; Surrey Heath, Conservative)
It is always a pleasure to visit Northumberland. I hope that I will have a chance, even before the school is rebuilt, to visit Prudhoe to congratulate it on the fantastic teaching that goes on there, and perhaps I shall take in Alnwick while I am there.

John Bercow (Speaker)
I should explain for the benefit of the House that as the Secretary of State has given what
might be called a national answer, slightly opening up Question 3, for which I do not in any way excoriate him, the field is now open.
Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall, Liberal Democrat)
I thank you, Mr Speaker, and through you the Secretary of State for his generosity. Areas such as Northumberland have sometimes lost out, as the Secretary of State has pointed out, through funding formulae that do not recognise deprivation that is more dispersed. I urge him to ensure that the review takes full account of that, so that areas such as Northumberland get their fair share of national funding and to ensure that the pupil premium continues its progress in tackling deprivation across the country.
Michael Gove (Secretary of State, Education; Surrey Heath, Conservative)
Since the days of the Venerable Bede, where Northumberland has led, the rest of the country has followed. My hon. Friend makes a very good point. Northumberland and Cornwall have similar challenges that will be taken into account in our review of funding.