Stour Valley schools call for fairer funding after meeting with MP

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge meets with pupils and staff at Stour Valley Community School and Clare Primary School.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge meets with pupils and staff at Stour Valley Community School and Clare Primary School.
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The Stour Valley Educational Trust hopes a recent visit by its local MP has helped illuminate its concerns about the new National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge met with staff and pupils from Clare Primary School and Stour Valley Community School last week, to discuss changes to the education landscape, standards in schools and the influence of academies.

Mr Cartlidge said he was delighted to see the progress made at Stour Valley since it opened in 2011, with the school ranking in the top three for the 2017 exam results in west Suffolk.

“I enjoyed visiting Stour Valley Educational Trust and was pleased to meet students and teachers from both of its schools in Clare,” said Mr Cartlidge.

“The progress being made within the trust and the strong focus on student outcomes is a credit to the pupils, staff and governors.”

But the trust said the visit was also an important opportunity to express its worries about the NFF and the constraints already felt in its annual budget.

Keith Haisman, chairman of trustees at the Stour Valley Educational Trust, told the Free Press: “The formula appeared to be unfair. Towns similar to Clare were getting more money if they were further south and less if they were further north.

“This led us to say ‘there’s something not right here, so let’s get our MP in to talk about how he sees it and for him to see what happens on the ground’.

“It helped make it real. In the real world of work, there are huge pressures to keep the school afloat in terms of equipment and resources.

“If we can just raise awareness and he takes that back to the centre, that’s worthwhile.

“We just want to be provided with enough money to do the job properly.”