Increasing funding for Crawley schools

Following campaigning from myself and other West Sussex MPs, schools across the county are to receive an additional £28 million in funding through the new National Funding Formula with most Crawley schools getting an increase of over 10 per cent.

Extra support is welcome, and I continue to call for additional financial backing to recognise the increasing costs borne by schools, with a particular emphasis on special educational needs.

I’m also making representations with the Department for Education with regard to Thomas Bennett Community College. Around one quarter of the school’s funds are going on PFI loan repayments, following its rebuild more than a decade ago, with today’s pupils feeling the effects of the then-Labour Government’s bad planning.

There are now 1.9 million more children being taught in good or outstanding schools compared to 2010 – up from 66 per cent to 87 per cent. However, there’s more to do to support young people throughout their education.

Currently, 28 per cent of children finish their reception year without early communication and reading skills necessary to get on in life, and it’s the ambition of the Government to cut this number in half over the next ten years. For my part, it’s a cause I’ve raised with ministers and is something I’ll continue to take forward with the Education Secretary.

Due to recent reforms and the hard work of Crawley teachers and pupils, education standards are rising in our schools. England is rising up international literacy league tables and there are over 150,000 more six year olds on track to be fluent readers compared with six years ago, and school funding will increase to £43.5 billion in 2019-20.

There’s still more to be done to ensure that all children can fulfil their potential and achieve as much as their talents and hard work can take them, and I’ll continue to pursue this directly with the Government.

Henry Smith MP