Henry Smith MP has spoken out against the historical underfunding of local schools in a Westminster Hall debate on school funding (Monday, 4th February) and has called on the Department for Education to do more to ensure the concerns highlighted by local parents and teachers are better addressed.
Speaking after the conclusion of the debate, Henry said;
“With colleagues across West Sussex I lobbied successfully for a new National Funding Formula and an extra £28 million for schools in our county goes a considerable way to make funding fairer. For the coming financial year this will amount to an extra £33.5 million.
“However, more action is needed to address the concerns raised by Crawley parents and teachers – this is my call to the Department for Education and the Government.”
Please click here for the full text and video of Henry's speech, or see below for extracts.
On addressing the historical underfunding of schools in Crawley and West Sussex, Henry said;
“I welcome the important £28 million funding increase for West Sussex schools under the new National Funding Formula. I also welcome the increase to 200 places at Manor Green School, a special school in my constituency, but we need to go further still. The historical underfunding of West Sussex schools under the Blair and Brown years has left a lot to make up for.
“The additional funding under the National Funding Formula is very welcome, but the pressures that have been described today need to be better addressed by the Department for Education.”
On special educational needs and disabilities, Henry said;
“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.”