Education Funding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:04 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education 6:04 pm, 3rd September 2019

I thank the hon. Lady for such a kind and warm welcome to me in my new role; it was very generous of her. She raises a number of important points. We are talking about cash and a total settlement—including pensions— for schools that is worth £18.9 billion over three years. That does not even touch upon the Barnett consequentials for the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The issue of 16-to-19 education is one close to my heart, and the hon. Lady was right to highlight the fact that we are delivering an extra half a billion pounds—the £400 million plus £100 million to deal with pension pressures. I think most people would welcome such an announcement. She is right to highlight the important issue of children with special educational needs and making sure they get the right level of support and everything they need in the classroom, which is why, in the next financial year, we will deliver more than £700 million extra for those children. Even Opposition Members should recognise that is a significant increase, and those increases will continue over the following three years.

We have set out a three-year settlement for schools to give them the confidence to plan for and invest in their future. The hon. Lady raises the important issue of teaching assistants. I absolutely agree with her: they are incredibly important. My wife, who is a teaching assistant, tells me repeatedly how important they are, and I would never disagree with my wife.