It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. I thank my hon. Friend Liz Twist for leading the debate.
Last week, I spoke in the estimates debate on education funding, appealing for increased funding for our schools and colleges. Seemingly, every Education Committee inquiry references the lack of appropriate funding, or misdirected funding, as a cause of many of the problems. As a teacher and headteacher of 34 years—I am not speaking politically now, but personally, as a professional—I get so frustrated by the fact that we, and teachers, have to come cap in hand to such debates to appeal for funding so often, when it is every child’s right to have a quality education. However, I thank the teachers, head- teachers and parents who signed the petition and brought it to Parliament for the debate.
My colleagues, both in education and in politics, will no doubt agree that the passion and determination of those in the education sector should never be underestimated. That passion drives teachers, teaching assistants and others, who want children to get the best education possible, to take on extra work and responsibilities, or to use their own money to buy learning resources that schools cannot afford. However, it should not be like that. It should not be the case that 95% of schools in my constituency are facing real-terms cuts in per-pupil funding.