MPs appeal to schools minister for fairer funding

West Sussex MPs Nick Herbert, Sir Nicholas Soames, Tim Loughton, Jeremy Quin, Sir Peter Bottomley and  Henry Smith with Schools Minister Nick Gibb

West Sussex MPs Nick Herbert, Sir Nicholas Soames, Tim Loughton, Jeremy Quin, Sir Peter Bottomley and Henry Smith with Schools Minister Nick Gibb

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West Sussex MPs have met with the Minister for Schools to ask for extra money for the county’s cash-strapped schools.

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs), Sir Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex), Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham), Jeremy Quin (Horsham), Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) and Henry Smith (Crawley) met Nick Gibb earlier today (Tuesday October 18).

Mr Quin said that, during the meeting, they pressed Mr Gibb for the rapid introduction of the National Funding Formula.

“The formula - which is believed to be a much fairer system - was originally scheduled to be introduced in April 2017, but has been postponed until September 2018.

With schools already struggling to make ends meet, the MPs asked Mr Gibb for transitional funding to ease the burden until then.

Mr Quin said the Minister “made clear” that Education Secretary Justine Greening and the Department for Education were “well aware that West Sussex schools are underfunded compared to the national average”.

Ms Greening had described the current funding system as “arbitrary, unfair and out-of-date”, though the government has not yet taken a decision on transitional funding.

After meeting with Mr Gibb, the MPS joined headteachers and pupils from schools across West Sussex who delivered a letter to No 10 Downing Street asking for fair funding and appealing for transitional support.

Mr Quin said: “It was a pleasure to join pupils from The Weald School, along with local heads, at Downing Street. My fellow MPs and I put the case strongly this morning to the Schools Minister and will continue to campaign in Westminster, with a meeting with the Education Secretary scheduled for November 2.”

Mr Loughton added: “It is encouraging that both the Secretary of State and the Minister appreciate just how much West Sussex is losing out.

“The gross disparities that currently exist between West Sussex and others areas is not fair and it puts the children living here at a disadvantage for no other reason that where they happen to live.

“It was wonderful to be able to deliver the petition to the door of Number 10 with parents, students and teachers from schools in West Sussex.

“I can absolutely assure all the parents, students and teachers who have been contacting me on this subject that West Sussex MPs are fighting to secure better funding for our schools and we are with you all the way.”

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