Education: Accountability hearings.
Witnesses: Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State, Department for Education
Damian Hinds: The new national funding formula means that funding will finally be distributed based on the needs and characteristics of every school in the country. It is supported by an additional £1.3 billion, which means that we will maintain school and high-needs funding in real terms per pupil for the next two years.
Damian Hinds: Of course, the formula rightly takes account of deprivation in the way that the hon. Lady mentions. If the funding formula were implemented in full in the Bishop Auckland constituency, based on the 2017-18 pupil data, funding would increase by £981,000 or 1.9%.
Damian Hinds: No. On the same basis as I answered the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman), if the formula were implemented fully in the Bradford South constituency, it would mean an increase of 1.6% or £1.3 million. Across the system, per pupil real-terms funding is being maintained.
Damian Hinds: My right hon. Friend makes a very good point about one of the cost pressures facing schools. We are working on seeing what we can do to help and developing a new framework to help to bring down recruitment costs, especially on the supply teachers she mentions.
Damian Hinds: My hon. Friend is correct to say that the implementation of the national funding formula is a very important step forward. I always happy to meet my hon. Friend.
Damian Hinds: Across the system over the next two years, the total core schools funding budget will be going up from just under £41 billion this year to £43.5 billion. Of course there have been cost pressures on schools. I do not deny that for a moment. It is one of the reasons why we are taking the steps I outlined a moment ago to try to help with those cost pressures, but across the system per...
Damian Hinds: The intention of the national funding formula is not that every pupil throughout the country has exactly the same amount of money spent on them, because it is important that the formula recognises the difference in composition of pupil make-up. We were talking a moment ago about deprivation, but there are other measures of additional need that need to be reflected.
Damian Hinds: First, let me join the hon. Lady in congratulating Andria Zafirakou on her outstanding achievement. It is a particularly striking individual attainment, but it is also a reflection of the incredibly inspirational role that teachers everywhere play. We have discussed funding at some length. The fact is that across the system the per pupil real-terms funding is being maintained. Over the next...
Damian Hinds: It is true that cash funding per pupil is increasing. It is also true that real-terms funding is increasing. But I could and should have been more precise that when we talk about real-terms per pupil funding, that is being maintained. The core schools budget over the next two years will rise from a little under £41 billion to £43.5 billion.
Damian Hinds: Since 2010, there are 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools and more disadvantaged children are going on to university. Our plans to make further progress include £72 million for 12 opportunity areas and £50 million on improving early language and literacy.
Damian Hinds: My hon. Friend is right to highlight the dramatic falls in unemployment and youth unemployment. In his constituency, there have been over 7,000 apprenticeship starts since 2010. He is absolutely right that it is very important that all schools are able to share in the improvements in education outcomes, and it is very important that the support is there to do that.
Damian Hinds: The definition of areas of deprivation will include the opportunity areas that I mentioned a little earlier, as well as other areas according to the IDACI—income deprivation affecting children index—methodology. I cannot say off the top of my head exactly what the implication of that is for Chippenham, but I will be very happy to stay in touch with my hon. Friend.
Damian Hinds: Indeed. Improving literacy is vital to improving social mobility, and our plans for a centre of excellence and a national network of English hubs will help with that. I am happy, of course, to pay tribute to the fantastic work done by the National Literacy Trust in its Middlesbrough hub and to my hon. Friend’s constituent.
Damian Hinds: This goes to the heart of the Office for Fair Access and what the Office for Students will do, but it is also really important that universities—particularly selective universities—continue to redouble their efforts to make sure that they are reaching out directly, so that they are tapping into the full range of talents that are on offer throughout our country.
Damian Hinds: The hon. Lady is entirely right to identify the importance of independent careers advice. That goes for applications to university, for subject choice and for considering technical and vocational—as well as academic—routes, and that is why we are putting so much focus on it.
Damian Hinds: I totally acknowledge that it can be very unsettling and upsetting when a school closes like that. Of course, I am happy to discuss the particular case with her, but it remains the case that across the system we are holding the core schools budget constant in real per pupil terms.
Damian Hinds: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour for all he has done on breakfast over an extended period, particularly with his Magic Breakfast connection, and I share his desire to make sure that best practice is shared across borders.
Damian Hinds: The important things to note are that with our university financing system more young people, including from disadvantaged backgrounds, than ever are able to go to university, that universities are properly funded and that there is no cap on ambition.
Damian Hinds: The hon. Lady is entirely correct in identifying the importance of early years for children’s development, social mobility and narrowing the gap, which is one reason we are putting so much more effort and money into early years and childcare, including through the extensions of eligibility for the two-year-old offer, which I think, bizarrely, she voted against last week.