National Funding Formula

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Conservative, Harborough

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of the national funding formula on (a) small primary schools and (b) schools in rural areas.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The national funding formula provides additional support for small primary schools and rural schools. For example, the sparsity factor allocates £25 million specifically to schools that are both small and remote. Coupled with the lump sum, a small rural primary school could attract up to £135,000 through those factors alone.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Conservative, Harborough

Village schools are incredibly important institutions in rural life, but their numbers absolutely collapsed over the past 40 years. Will my right hon. Friend look very closely, in the run-up to the spending review, at increasing further that lump sum and the sparsity premium, so that we can protect these institutions?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We will keep the formula design under consideration and we will consider feedback on specific factors when developing the formula in the future. For this coming financial year, the formula is already fixed. However, as I said earlier we are in discussion and preparing for the spending review. We want the best possible settlement for small rural schools and the education sector as a whole.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

We are running late, but I do not want the subject of special educational needs and disabilities to miss out, so we will take the next question. However, I appeal to the questioners to be particularly brief.