School pupils in Cambridgeshire are being short changed by government funding for education in the county and now the public is being urged to lobby for change.
Cambridgeshire County Council has joined other rural counties across the country calling on the government to give schools outside of the large urban areas a fairer deal on education spending.
The move comes as the government gears up for further consultation on a new national funding formula later this month.
County council leader Councillor Steve Count says now is the time to act before yet another unfair formula is put in place leaving rural counties like Cambridgeshire once again the poor relations.
The current funding formula dating back to 2005, has led to county schools being underfunded for a number of years, with a gap of 47 per cent between the average per pupil funding received by counties and Inner London.
This means a £2,000 gap per pupil, per year given by government to spend on Cambridgeshire children compared to some other areas of the country.
Cambridgeshire is currently ranked 120th out of 151 local authorities in terms of money received per pupil via the Schools Block element of the Dedicated Schools Grant.
Coun Count said: “We understand that it can cost more to educate a child in places like London where wages and land costs are higher. But how it can be so much higher is questionable. If the government closed the gap between places like Cambridgeshire and Tower Hamlets by just a third or even a half it would make an enormous difference to our schools. It is not just Cambridgeshire, but all rural counties that are suffering, which is why we have joined with other county councils acorss the UK to lobby MPs to take a message to the goverment to make some changes ot their proposed Funding Formula plans.
“There are going to be winners and losers under the new system - but once again it will be the county schools that lose out. We are not asking the government to spend more money - we understand there has to be austerity measures - but we are asking for a fairer distribution of that money. At the moment it is just very disproportionate.
“What we are doing is trying to make the public away of the issue and to urge them to write to their local MPs and make sure they understand the need to put pressure on the government for fairer education funding.”