School Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:28 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 6:28 pm, 25th January 2017

I pay tribute to the shadow Secretary of State, my hon. Friend Angela Rayner, who made a brilliant speech. She demonstrated, as has the fact that a large number of Members wanted to speak in this debate, that education truly matters in our country.

I will make a few brief points. The first is that the narrative of this discussion is completely wrong. It is a typical Tory divide-and-rule strategy. I do not believe that schools that might gain from a change in the funding formula want to do so at the expense of other children, teachers and schools. For example, I know that the folks who are set to gain from the changes in Knowsley, just across the River Mersey from where I live, do not want to do so at the expense of children and schools in Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral. We should not be dividing people, but bringing them together.

Schools in Wirral are set to lose hundreds of pounds per pupil. That plays into another classic Tory narrative, which is that people do not need money to get anywhere in life or to help in education. Lucy Frazer said that money is not sufficient to drive achievement. In fact, money may not be a sufficient condition, but it is a necessary one, as all the evidence shows. I am next to my hon. Friend Stephen Twigg, who led the London challenge. I know he would say that it was reform and improvement, alongside decent funding, that resulted in those achievements under the last Labour Government that we are all proud of.