I was recently contacted by Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education to give me further information about school results, and resourcing both nationally and in Solihull. He is aware of course of many of the real concerns about funding from our teachers and constituents. Education ministers have been meeting with headteachers, campaign groups, unions and professional associations to understand the full impact of pressures on schools. Following the end of the 1% public sector pay cap, the government are funding the unexpected cost of the pay award for teachers with £508 million over two years, above the amount schools had already been allocated. They are also covering the costs of increased pension contributions for state schools.
The government is also taking steps to address some of the particular cost pressures that education has faced. One of these is High Needs. The budget for High Needs has risen by £1billion over the last five years, but more steps are being taken including capital funding, both for new special schools and inclusion units in mainstream schools, and training more Educational Psychologists. Solihull will receive an additional £1 million over two years, bringing the High Needs block funding to £27.6 million in 2019/20. Solihull will also receive £10.7 million in Pupil Premium funding to support the 9,004 pupils eligible.
Solihull has a lot to be proud about: 83% of children in Solihull now attend schools rated good or outstanding. Over 1,500 school places have been added locally; including the establishment of a Free School. Per-pupil funding for us is going up by £262.9 – so for this next school year a class of 28 primary pupils will be allocated £107,302 in Solihull, and 28 secondary pupils, £139,619, alongside an increase in the number of teachers and assistants. This will help prepare our schoolchildren for the employment markets of the future.
Wednesday 19th June is ‘Thank a Teacher Day’. The day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the huge difference teachers make to their students’ lives and recognise how their hard work has improved standards in schools across the country. I am eternally grateful to those who taught me and I’m sure we can all think of at least one teacher who changed our lives for the better. So do take the time to ‘thank a teacher’!
Dame Caroline Spelman MP