School Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education 4:33 pm, 25th January 2017

I recognise my hon. Friend’s concerns. I am happy to talk to him one to one about his local community, as I have done with other colleagues. We are undertaking the consultation so that we can ensure that we get the new formula right. It is important that the formula works effectively on the ground. Alongside it, we will make sure that we protect the funding for deprived communities so that we can use that mechanism to tackle the attainment gap. We have also made sure that an element of our formula follows children who start from further behind, for whatever reason. Low prior attainment is properly addressed in the formula to make sure that if a child needs additional investment to help them to catch up, wherever they are in the country, that investment is there.

The second stage of the consultation on the funding formula runs until 22 March. We want to hear from as many school governors, schools, local authorities and parents as possible. I know that colleagues on both sides of the House will also want to contribute. As I said, we have put a lot of data alongside the consultation because we want to ensure that people have the information that they need to be able to respond. The transparency that the new formula will give us also means that we will have much more informed debates in this House about how we want to fund our schools, and the relative balance we want between core funding, deprivation funding and low prior attainment funding, as well as issues such as sparsity.