Last week at Exmouth Community College, I met headteachers from a number of schools to discuss their budgets. East Devon is fortunate to have truly excellent schools with dedicated headteachers and staff. Each headteacher at the table represented a school with either a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.
However, the headteachers highlighted some of the difficult decisions they have had to make over staff numbers, capital expenditure, and curriculum options. They expressed concern that this may threaten the level of support they can provide for their students over the coming academic years.
I shall of course continue to campaign for fairer funding for Devon’s schools. At a debate in Parliament earlier this month, I argued that every child in a Devon school still receives £304 less than the national average, meaning that Devon misses out on £27 million per year. Whilst I am pleased that the new National Funding Formula has gone some way to address the disparity between inner cities and shire counties that we inherited from the previous Labour government, it does not go far enough.
I am also pleased that the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds agreed to meet with me today. I welcome the news that the core schools budget is set to rise to £43.5 billion for 2019-20, meaning that more money than ever is going into our schools.
I pressed the Secretary of State to consider giving our teachers a significant boost by providing further financial support through the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. I hope we can look forward to a good news announcement soon.