School Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee 4:59 pm, 25th January 2017

The Department has produced a school-by-school analysis of the impact of the proposed funding formula. For schools in Liverpool, the results are worrying; 80% are forecast to lose funding, and we are set to lose around £1.3 million from the schools block in the first year, 2018-19. When the formula is fully implemented, unless it changes, that will increase to slightly more than £3 million. I know that consultation is still under way, but it is very important that schools in my constituency know what is happening as soon as possible so that they can plan their budgets.

I welcome the fact that the Liverpool settlement will mean more money for high-needs funding. There is, however, concern from the council and schools that that high-needs funding will not be available in time to alleviate the cuts in the schools block. What timescale do the Government envisage for full implementation of the new formula, particularly the high-needs funding element?

As we know, early years education is vital to pupils’ life chances. I have two nursery schools in my constituency, Ellergreen and East Prescot Road, both of which have been rated outstanding by Ofsted. Both are very concerned about the Government’s plans for nursery school funding. I seek assurances from the Minister that long-term funding for our nursery schools will be secure, so that they can continue their excellent work of providing quality early years education.

When I saw the motion for this debate, I wrote to the heads of schools in my constituency, asking them for their concerns. Blackmoor Park Infant School in West Derby told me about its need for repairs. It is using four mobile classrooms, which are three years beyond their shelf life. The headteacher told me that the school does not have enough money to replace them, because of the financial pressures that it faces.