rory brokers dialogue between county council and constituency head-teachers over funding formula

Rory has, following a meeting on Monday specially convened by the Eden Area Secondary Headteachers (EASH) group, said that he is delighted to have been instrumental in brokering greater dialogue between the schools and Cumbria County Council in relation to the schools’ ongoing concerns about the National Schools Funding Formula. The meeting involved head-teachers and governors from the EASH group (UCC, QEGS, SKS, KSGS, and AGS) as well as Brampton’s WHS and Wigton’s NTS, all in Rory’s constituency of Penrith and the Border.

Rory said today:  “I am delighted that there will be enhanced dialogue between the schools and the local authority on this, and would like to thank Council Portfolio Holder Duncan Fairbairn for his ongoing support and assistance. The EASH group raised very valid concerns with me about the funding of some of our largest schools. I have requested this meeting, and more detailed dialogue, in order to assess the projected figures that show that any school with more than 500 students is likely to face significant cuts to their funding.”

The National Schools Funding Formula is used to determine the allocation of resources each school will receive from government, but is administered by the local authority. In an effort to protect small, rural primary schools – extremely exposed in any formula which allocates funds purely on student numbers – the government agreed to include a “lump sum” payment, allocated to every school, which was deliberately designed to ensure small schools remained viable.

Rory Stewart MP continued: “In a rural county like Cumbria, our focus is consistently on the preservation and improvement of our services, and our schools are no exception. I fully recognise the incredibly difficult task Cumbria County Council has ahead of it in administering these funds. The lump sum payment offers additional protection to our small, rural schools and this is to be welcomed. At the same time, however, the formula remains a fairly blunt instrument, and could
create a number of perverse and extreme results. I am hopeful now that any anomalies can be ironed out.”

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