Jenny today penned a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP in light of a multi-million pound deficit faced by schools in Darlington.
Headteachers from schools in the town joined forces by asking parents to call on the Government for fair funding for Darlington schools. A letter was also sent to Jenny asking her to raise the issue further with the relevant ministers.
Jenny called the £472 reduction per pupil per year damaging for the young people educated in the town. She went on to say:
Eight of Darlington’s wards are amongst the most deprived 10 per cent in England, with approximately 21 per cent of the local authority’s children living in poverty.
As Secretary of State for Education, it is your job to fight for the resources needed to secure the best education for all children and young people in every region.
Jenny will be meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the matter further in the coming weeks.
You can read Jenny's full letter below.
Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
Secretary of State for Education
Great Smith Street
22 March 2017
I have been contacted by many Darlington parents and teachers about funding for Darlington schools. We are all extremely worried about the future of education in Darlington. Please find enclosed a copy of a letter sent to parents and carers by primary head teachers.
As you know, school funding per pupil is being cut. Teachers and their leaders in Darlington will do everything possible to ensure children and young people receive the very best education but this is becoming more and more challenging as funding cuts continue. In the manifesto on which you were elected in 2015 you promised to protect funding per pupil. I would encourage you to honour this commitment.
In Darlington, it is predicted that our schools will lose £6,111,359 by 2019. That is a loss of £427 per pupil. These estimates are in cash, not real terms. I cannot see how this is fair. Eight of Darlington’s wards are amongst the most deprived 10% in England, with approximately 21% of the local authority’s children living in poverty. The proportion of our children entitled to free school meals is higher than the national average: - in primary schools the figure stands at 19% and in secondary schools 17%.
The argument being made by teachers and parents today is familiar to me because we're seeing the largest cuts to school spending per pupil since the early 1980’s when I was a pupil at school in Darlington. As Secretary of State for Education it is your job to fight in Cabinet for the resources needed to secure the best education for all children and young people in every region. If the proposed cuts to per pupil funding are take place you will have failed in this task.
I would be grateful if you could address the points made by head teachers in their letter to parents. These are turbulent times for young people. We need to know that the Government is doing all that it should to provide a first rate education for our children and young people.
Jenny Chapman MP