Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has been congratulated in Parliament for his “robust campaigning” on extra funding for Cambridgeshire schools as it was announced that they will get an extra £20 million from next April.
Julian received praise from Schools Minister, David Laws who said that areas like Cambridge, which have seen an unfair amount of funding would receive the greatest boost.
Mr Laws’ congratulations came as Julian told Parliament that Cambridgeshire schools had been underfunded for 30 years and were “right at the bottom of the pile”.
“At last this government will do something about it where others haven’t,” said Julian, “and on behalf of all those campaigners, particularly the Schools Forum and the Cambridge News, which have campaigned for many years, thank you.
“Can I urge the Minister to make sure this actually happens?”
Mr Laws said: “I congratulate my honourable friend for being such a robust campaigner for these changes; hardly a week has gone by over the last few years when he hasn’t been lobbying me for fair funding for Cambridgeshire.
“I know there are schools within this county which are at the moment in vision distance of other schools in other authorities which are funded in a totally different way. That always was unfair and we are now addressing it.”
Julian, who has campaigned on this issue for over a decade, led a Westminster debate on the schools under-funding issue and has been pushing ministers to act, said the seven per cent increase was welcome news after schools suffered years of financial neglect under successive governments.
“The settlement is extremely welcome news because it means our schools will no longer be the lowest funded in the country,” he said. “Our children have been taught in schools that have been chronically short-changed for the last 30 years.
“There is no excuse for treating Cambridgeshire differently to other parts of the country. Our schools are doing a great job despite working against a backdrop of under-funding but they could do so much more for our children with a fairer settlement.”
Schools were receiving much less than the average – £600 per pupil per year less – putting them at the bottom of the nation’s financial league table.
The new settlement will give a two form entry primary school with 420 pupils an extra £275 per pupil per year from £3,950 to £4,225 That means the school will receive a total of £115,500 a year more.
There is now a consultation, and in a bid to make sure the extra funding happens Julian has launched a petition - http://bit.ly/CambsSchoolsFunding - calling on Mr Gove to implement the new settlement in full as quickly as possible.
The petition “Cambridgeshire schools deserve a fairer funding deal!” supports the extra funding and tells Mr Gove: “Please don’t leave our children short-changed any longer.”