We must make Cambridgeshire’s school funding an issue on our doorsteps when politicians come knocking this spring

What your piece last week about Cambridgeshire school funding failed to note was that the heads who visited the Secretary of State were told that the Department for Education had reneged on its prior commitment to start working on a fairer system of funding.

As a result, although schools in Cambridgeshire will get an additional amount in the next academic year, the county will remain one of the lowest funded in the country.

It’s worth spelling out exactly what that means.

The General Annual Grant (GAG) in Cambridgeshire is about £4,250 per pupil per year. For a school of our size, that equates to a GAG budget of about £5.3million.

For a similar school in Oxford, say – a not dissimilar place with an arguably lower cost of living – the GAG is £5,800. That means schools in Oxford receive £1,550 more each year per child than we do for your children.

For us, it means we have about £2million – about 40 per cent – less each year than an equivalent school in Oxford has to spend on teachers, support staff, resources, and so on.

We are very grateful to MP Sir Jim Paice for his campaigning on this on our behalf and I’m guessing that he was as horrified as we were to hear that the DofE is not yet behind us on this.

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We are also grateful that Lucy Frazer will continue to support us when Mr Paice leaves office.

But that political will hasn’t worked so far.

What will work is if parents – and others in the area who care about this – make it an issue on their doorsteps when the politicians come knocking and asking for your vote.

I will be making it clear that I find it utterly unacceptable that my children’s education is apparently worth less than a similar child in other parts of the country, and that the current way of funding schools is unfair, inequitable, and unsustainable.

BEN GIBBS

Chairman of governors

Ely College

Via e-mail

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