School Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:32 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health) (Community Health) 5:32 pm, 25th January 2017

I hope that the hon. Gentleman’s figures are correct, but I fear that they are not. My information suggests that they are not. The research that I have done shows that that is not the case.

My schools are already working flat out to ensure that children coping with social and economic deprivation can overcome disadvantage and fulfil their potential, yet those schools are having the rug pulled from under them. Robbing Peter to pay Paul—or robbing Peterborough to help Poole—is not going to help. In my constituency, there has been a concerted effort by the key stakeholders, the schools, the council and businesses to work together to grow the local economy. That has not been easy, but we are making good progress. We are focusing our energies on raising skill levels, confidence and aspiration among young people. Considerable effort has been expended on this, and these funding cuts feel like a kick in the teeth.

Education is the key not just to better life chances for individuals but to our economic success. Ensuring adequate funding is crucial so that every child, wherever they live and whatever their background, can fulfil their potential. As a nation, we know that every citizen matters in the widest possible sense, not least to our economy. Investing in education is an investment in the economy, and failing to do that is short-sighted in the extreme. A Government who talk of increased social mobility and growing a strong economy need to understand that investment in education is absolutely fundamental to those aims.