SCHOOLS, councillors and MPs are joining forces in Solihull to fight for fairer Government funding for borough schools.
Following Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s pledge to reform the current system, campaigners are hoping to an end to the funding formula which sees Solihull miss out on hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding for the borough’s school children each year.
Solihull is currently the eleventh-worst funded authority in England – with more than 7,000 pupils from neighbouring Coventry and Birmingham travelling to the borough for their education.
And under the current funding system, despite these pupils being educated in Solihull schools, the Government funding does not ‘follow’ them to the borough.
Instead this money remains in Whitehall coffers, meaning Solihull loses out on around £1,000 worth of funding per pupil, per year.
Councillor Joe Tildesley, cabinet member for education, skills and culture and long-time activist for fairer funding for Solihull schools welcomed the news.
He said: “Everyone has been brilliant in saying Solihull must rise up the league table and I’m delighted the Government has come out with these proposals.
“The latest funding formula was sorted out in 2005 and it is about time it changes.”
“We must make sure this this time make sure that if a child crosses the border that the child brings the finding with them.
“How can it possibly be fair that being separated by geographical border – despite having similar issues of deprivation and free school meals in some areas – that a school in Birmingham gets thousands of pounds more funding than us?
“We have to make sure this message we are sending from the local authority, in collaboration with a variety of different groups, is strong in order to make sure this unfairness comes to an end.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to get this sorted once and for all and we are determined that Solihull will receive its fair allocation of funding,”
Local MPs, Caroline Spelman and Julian Knight also welcomed news of reform – both continuing their joint efforts in Government to secure a better deal for Solihull Borough schools.
Commenting on the announcement, Caroline said: “I have long campaigned for more equal schools funding which, under current rules, is arbitrary and places local pupils at a severe disadvantage.
“I am sure local residents will join me in welcoming the announcement.
This will ensure a fair resolution can be found to address the historic unfairness in the school funding system that our local schools have experienced for more than a decade.”
Julian added: “This move will ensure the best quality of education for our children– whatever their background and wherever they live in the country – get a great education.”