MORE THAN 100 MPS, including several Conservatives from Yorkshire, have signed a letter to the Prime Minister demanding that he sticks to his pledge to introduce a new national funding formula for schools “in the near future.”
The letter, which was led by Beverley and Holderness MP, Graham Stuart MP, was handed over yesterday, in the House of Commons.
Mr Stuart is the vice chairman of the f40 group which has been campaigning to end the disparity in funding schools receive per pupil in different parts of the country.
The letter to David Cameron calls on the government to implement a fairer funding formula along the lines of proposals prepared by f40. It said this would “see funding geared towards improving educational standards rather than perpetuating an inequitable system” from the 2017/18 academic year.
The letter has been signed by 111 MPs.
The Yorkshire Post reported last week that according to the f40 group, the current system sees the region’s schools miss out on £40m funding-a-year which they would receive if the funding system did not have such large disparities between different areas.
The new Conservative MP for Richmond Rishi Sunak also highlighted the issue earlier in the month.
He said the current system was based on historic criteria which discriminated against rural areas adding: “There can be no justification for a formula which gives schools in Bradford and Middlesbrough about £400 per pupil more than North Yorkshire.”
The f40 group has been pressing successive Governments to create a new national funding formula.
Earlier this year Mr Cameron said that an extra £390m awarded to schools in some of the worst funded areas of the country last year to close the gap would be repeated in this Parliament.
But now f40 campaigners are pressing the PM to provide a permanent solution by creating a new national funding formula.
The group’s chairman, Ivan Ould said: “This irrational and unfair allocation arrangement has to change.
“School funding has become more and more unfair over time, and the inconsistencies in funding for individual schools with similar characteristics across the country are too great.
“f40, which represents the lowest funded authorities in England, wants to see the introduction of a new national funding formula. This would be a transformative achievement for pupils in low funded authorities and that is why f40 is maintaining the pressure on the government to deliver what it has promised.”
Mr Stuart, the former chairman of the Education Select Committee added: “The fact that so many MPs have signed this letter on a cross-party basis shows the strength of feeling in favour of school funding reform. This is about bringing an end to an arbitrary and unfair system – it’s not about rural versus urban, or Conservative vs Labour, it’s about bringing order from chaos. The Government deserves credit for promising to act and now is the time to deliver a rational, needs-based funding settlement.”
Yorkshire Conservative MPs who have signed the letter include Mr Stuart, Mr Sunak, Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer and David Davis, the Haltemprice and Howden MP.