School Funding — [Sir David Crausby in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:08 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen 5:08 pm, 4th March 2019

That is exactly the point, and it should be what we talk about. We should be talking about our children, their outcomes and their future and not constantly make it a political battle.

School budgets have increased, but I concede they have not increased enough. [Interruption.] If Members could just allow me to get on to the points they might agree with, we might make some progress. The teacher and teaching assistant to pupil ratio in my Southampton constituency is around 10 children to one adult. When I went to school—I concede it was a long time ago—it was 30 kids in a class, sat in rows with one teacher and a blackboard. I know we do not want to go back to those days, but more recently, when my daughter went to school about 10 years ago, and now what we see has changed beyond all recognition. We never seem to do anything to acknowledge that, and we should, because otherwise we sound like we are moaning and whining and nothing is ever good enough.

I concede—this is important, because this is what people say, and they are right to say it—that pension contributions and national insurance are increasing. The national living wage has increased. Pupil numbers are rising. Inflation has not stood still. Pay has been held down and is quite rightly starting to rise. They are additional pressures, and they need to be funded.