Bizarre scenes in the Commons yesterday as multiple Labour MPs from all across the country got up to praise free schools: Labour Education shadow, the increasingly bizarre Tristram Hunt had asked for a statement on free schools and education funding.
Michael Gove received support from some pretty odd quarters - Labour's Ian Austin MP for Dudley is Gordon Brown's former henchman and led the support for what the DFE are doing. The list of supporters was very long and full of Labour - much to Tristram's upset. In Tynedale we do not have a free school but the changes coming in are still very good.
My question to the Secretary of State was as follows:
"In my part of Northumberland, we have neither the benefits nor the perceived burden of a free school. We have focused on more primary places; the rebuild, authorised by the Secretary of State, of Prudhoe community high school; the creation of the Haltwhistle academy, the first in my constituency; and the changes to the fairer funding formula, which will for the first time produce enhanced funding for Northumberland. I welcome the changes, I welcome his direction of travel and, in particular, I welcome the changes to the fairer funding formula."
Michael Gove replied:
"My hon. Friend makes a very good point. Part of the progressive changes that have been introduced by my Department and which have been championed and designed by the Minister for Schools has been an increase in funding for the parts of the country that have suffered in the past. In particular, the delivery of the pupil premium ensures that disadvantaged children, wherever they are, enjoy not only a high quality of education but additional investment in a better future."
Full debate is below: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140512/debtext/140512-0001.htm#1405129000001