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11 November, 2019

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Cheshire MPs fighting for local school funding

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MPs on both sides of the political divide are fighting to secure funding for Cheshire’s schools.

Education secretary Damian Hinds is set to face tough questioning from local headteachers, after Tatton MP Esther McVey has secured a top level meeting.

Meanwhile, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury has been speaking at a recent summit where delegates discussed school funding.

 

 

Ms McVey – who has repeatedly called for action to close the funding gap between Cheshire and other schools across the country – spoke during Education Questions in Parliament.

She said teachers, governors and parents need assurances over the government funding formula to ensure that no school will lose out under any forthcoming changes.

Ms McVey asked: “Will the department look at school funding again in rural areas, especially Cheshire, and push for further funding at the spending review?

“And will [the education secretary] commit today to come to Tatton to meet with some of my head teachers?”

The spring statement, or spending review – also known as the ‘mini budget’ – will take place on 13th March.

Responding, Damien Hinds said: “I am very conscious of the issues around rural schools and smaller schools and of course we have made adjustment with that around the national funding formula but of course I will be happy to come to visit Tatton to meet some headteachers.”

 

 

Last week, Mike Amesbury joined MP for Crewe and Nantwich Laura Smith as well as Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Nicole Meardon to address a gathering of teachers, parents and governors.

Speaking in his capacity as shadow employment minister, the Weaver Vale MP joined his Labour colleagues at the event organised by the National Association of Headteachers.

They heard that across Halton, Cheshire East, and Cheshire West and Chester authorities, 319 out of 332 schools could face cuts (96% of schools).

The collective loss to school budgets across the three authorities is estimated to be £26.7 million by 2020, compared with 2016.

The figures comprise an £11.8m loss to school budgets in Cheshire West and Chester, a £10.9m loss to school budgets in Cheshire East by 2020, and a £3.9m loss to school budgets in Halton.

Speaking at the event, Mr Amesbury said: “A massive £3.2 million will be lost from the budgets of the 42 schools in my constituency, and this is resulting in staffing cuts.

“Schools don’t need ‘little extras’ – as [Chancellor of the Exchequer] Philip Hammond called them in his budget – they need money for books, money to maintain buildings, and to pay staff fully.”

A date has not yet been confirmed for the education secretary’s visit.

 

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