Fighting for fairer funding

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge meets Ormiston Sudbury Academy principal Caroline Wilson ANL-150526-123832001
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge meets Ormiston Sudbury Academy principal Caroline Wilson ANL-150526-123832001
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A bid to get more money for cash-strapped schools in Sudbury and surrounding villages is being supported by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge.

Mr Cartlidge attended a meeting of F40 - a group which represents local authorities with historic low funding for education, including Suffolk - in Parliament recently.

He said: “I’ve visited all the secondary schools and a large number of primary schools and have listened to teachers and their concerns about the shortage of funding.

“South Suffolk schools suffer from poor funding in comparison to other constituencies across the country. This is not fair to our students and causes a great deal of concern.”

He said Suffolk was one of the lowest funded counties in the country with money given to the local authority amounting to roughly £4,000 per pupil in comparison to some London boroughs which get around £8,000.

Retiring Boxford Primary School head teacher Rob Giles has criticised the lack of funding for school.

He said: “From September, schools are having to find extra money to meet increased expenses and rising costs, things like increased pensions and National Insurance contributions and free school meals. We have spoken to our MP James Cartlidge about it and hope that he can push the case for Suffolk.”

Mr Cartlidge added: “It is crucial that we take action now. As MPs we must do all that we can to ensure that an outstanding level of education is provided for all of the students in our constituencies. I will be supporting the right to fairer funding for the young people of South Suffolk”.

Meanwhile, Hadleigh town councillor Sue Monks has been questioning the need to increase funding for school places, particularly in Hadleigh where, she said, the high school was having to turn away children from feeder schools because it was oversubscribed.

She asked Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills what plans the county had in place for additional funding.

Mrs Chambers said: “We are closely monitoring the situation in Hadleigh, and in other places. The catchment population for the high school has always been quite erratic with a tendency to spike for a year or two.

“This year we are seeing similar numbers to what we would have done in and around 2011, although this is expected to fall again in 2017. Undoubtedly, funding is a concern. We have lobbied long and hard for additional funding from the DfE, as we believe its funding to date has not reflected the real level of need in Suffolk,” she added.