Schools in my constituency are already facing financial crisis, and the plethora of new costs imposed upon these schools are simply too much. There has been no commitment to help schools with these rising costs, and schools in my constituency have been unfairly affected.
I recently had a meeting with Nick Gibb MP, the School Standards Minister at the Department for Education - together with Helen Key, Headteacher of Chailey School, and Sophie Thomas, Headteacher of Newick Primary School. I used the opportunity to represent the concerns of schools in East Sussex, who are unfairly burdened with escalating costs and an imposing apprenticeship levy.
I highlighted that school budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. There are serious fears that no further funding and additional costs that the proposed apprenticeship levy will put on schools from April will further exacerbate these strains, potentially resulting in real harm to children’s education.
Pressures such as increases in employer National Insurance contributions, pension contributions, the National Living Wage and unfunded salary increases have dramatically increased costs of schools, and yet there has been no significant funding increases to counteract these factors.
I called for a revised fairer funding formula that delivers for all schools, and that does not disproportionately affect schools such as the ones in East Sussex. The current school funding proposals are not suitable and put many East Sussex schools at a disadvantaged position, facing a fall in funding, with some of the more rural schools worst affected.
The recent meeting with the School Standards Minister was encouraging, but there is still a long way to go in order to eliminate these concerns.
I will make it an absolute priority to take every measure in defending the schools in my constituency, and will continue to champion their concerns, both in the Chamber and throughout Westminster.
I had put down to ask a question to the Secretary of State for Education in the House of Commons this week but was not selected. Please be assured I will continue to lobby the Secretary of State specifically on how the schools in East Sussex will be affected by the new funding formula.
I have recently spoken about the issue on BBC Sussex, you can listen to the interview here https://www.mariacaulfield.co.uk/news/maria-caulfield-gives-interview-support-school-funding.
I will fight to ensure that our schools’ funding is secure, and for a revised funding formula that enables them to deliver the high quality education that all children deserve, and that parents rightly expect.