Pupils take fairer funding campaign to Parliament

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PUPILS from Cambridgeshire schools went to London in a bid to secure more funding for the county’s schools.

Cambridgeshire receives less Government cash per pupil than any other county in the eastern region. It receives just £4,644 per pupil, compared with £4,816 for Essex and £5,169 for Peterborough.

Neighbouring counties such as Lincolnshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk all receive more money than Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire is ranked 143rd out of 151 local authorities for funding – down from 132nd last year. Peterborough is the 55th best-funded authority in the country.

If Cambridgeshire was funded at the national average of £5,082 per pupil, this would mean nearly £35m more for Cambridgeshire’s schools – or an extra £441 per pupil.

The pupils – from Chesterton Village College, Bottisham Village College, Milton Road Primary School and Swaffham Bulbeck Primary School – joined the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum for the visit to London.

The Cambridgeshire Schools Forum – chaired by Bottisham Village College Chair of Governors Philip Hodgson – is leading the campaign to secure a fairer funding deal for Cambridgeshire, supported by Cambridgeshire County Council and the region’s MPs.

Cambridgeshire’s six MPs have already written a joint letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove, calling for an end to the current funding system and a fairer method of distributing money to schools.

The group met North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay and Department for Education (DfE) Director of Funding Sarah Healey as part of their lobbying.

Philip Hodgson, Chair of the Cambridgeshire Schools Forum said: “It is clearly unfair that Cambridgeshire receives so much less than other authorities. It is the pupils themselves who lose out. Headteachers have said how much more could be provided for each pupil with funding levels at the national average – more teachers, improved resources, greater and earlier intervention for students in need, and additional provision for sport, music and drama, resulting in better outcomes for all our students.

“This inequality in funding has gone on for too long. It needs to be addressed now. I am delighted that our MPs have joined forces in taking Cambridgeshire’s campaign to the highest level, and I hope the Secretary of State will give our schools the funding they need and deserve.”