I thank the Minister for that answer, and I welcome the work that he is doing to ensure that we compare well internationally, but will he continue to work with me to ensure that that funding is equitably distributed within England? I am thinking particularly of a fairer share for places such as Devon.
My hon. Friend fights hard for the interests of the schools in his constituency, as I know at first hand from the schools that he has invited me to visit and the headteachers to whom he has introduced me at round-table discussions that he has organised on school funding. He will know, therefore, that under the fairer national funding formula, Devon will gain £13.6 million for its schools by 2019-20, rising from £382 million to £396 million in 2019.
Turning to further education, funding for students aged 16 to 19 has fallen by 8% since 2010 according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies—the biggest squeeze of any part of the education budget—and the Government announced last week that the base funding rate for 16 to 19-year-olds would be frozen for the seventh year running. Does the Minister agree with the chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, who says that the “sustainability and quality” of further education and skills provision have been hit by the cuts to their funding?
The Education Committee is conducting an inquiry into special educational needs and disability funding and provision. Does my right hon. Friend recognise that improving SEND support would go a long way to helping give schools a financial breathing space, given the extent that it impinges on schools’ core budgets?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. High-needs funding for children and young people with more complex SEN needs has risen by more than £1 billion since 2013. It is now £6 billion. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced yesterday, there will be another £125 million this year and another £125 million next year for high needs.
I gently exhort the Minister of State to face the House so that we can all benefit from his mellifluous tones.