School Funding — [Sir David Crausby in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:39 pm on 4th March 2019.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley 5:39 pm, 4th March 2019

I certainly would not advocate that schools in one part of the country should lose to benefit schools in other parts, which is what happened under the last Labour Government: schools in my constituency of Crawley were given about half the funding of their equivalents in metropolitan areas, particularly here in the capital. I believe that funding for pupils should be made available across the whole country. The historical underfunding needs to be addressed; it is beginning to be addressed, but if we are to properly equip our young people and support teachers to ensure that our young people have the best education, we will need more still.

I should have declared an interest at the beginning of my speech: when I was leader of West Sussex County Council, I was chair of the West Sussex learning disability partnership; I am also currently a vice-president of the British Dyslexia Association. I will end with a plea to the Department for special needs to receive extra attention. Those children and young people deserve our support so that they can have a start in life equal to that of all other pupils up and down the country.