Neil cares deeply about getting fairer funding for Devon schools. For too long, rural schools in counties like Devon have had a raw deal, while urban schools have received far more funding per pupil.
Devon schools have been among the worst-funded in England. Each individual Devon schoolchild receives £290 less per head than the average for England, or £25.5 million for all 88,065 pupils in the local authority. On 2016/17, Devon stood 143rd out of 150 local authorities on education funding.
Neil believes this unfair and out-dated formula cannot be allowed to continue. Changing this inequality has been one of Neil’s top priorities in Parliament. It’s one of the issues that Neil raised in his first ever ‘maiden’ speech in the House of Commons back in 2010.
Since his election, Neil has pressured on the Government to change the way the school’s funding formula is calculated. He has made speeches in Parliament, called debates, written open letters and lobbied Education Ministers in Parliament. Working with other MPs representing rural areas, Neil joined the f40 campaign and strongly made the case for reform to the historic unfairness in the system where rural schools get less money than urban schools.
New Funding Formula Promised
At the Spending Review in 2015, the Chancellor announced an end to the arbitrary and unfair postcode lottery for school funding. In its place, the Government has promised a new and fairer national funding formula. This new formula is currently being consulted on by Government to ensure the fairest possible outcome.
The Government has promised the funding formula will be in place by 2019. It will give every head teacher a level playing field, whether they teach in a rural or urban school.
Part of the new formula will provide extra funding for small schools in sparsely populated areas which find it more difficult to reduce costs. This will particularly help many rural schools in Devon, particularly primary schools, to get the funding they need to remain viable and give every child the best possible start in life.
Neil will be holding the Government to account on their promises to ensure they meet the new funding formula by the end of the Parliament. Rural schools in Devon have been waiting too long for fair funding. Neil is keen to ensure that the wait is soon over and that every child in Devon gets the resources and the money needed for the best possible education.