East Cambs schools get a share of £6 million Government funding following campaign by MPs and head teachers
PUBLISHED: 11:04 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 18 January 2017
Schools across East Cambs will share £6 million of new Government funding following a hard fought campaign by head teachers and MP Lucy Frazer.
“East Cambridgeshire ranks as the 14th worst area in the country for social mobility,” she said.
“Its historic lack of funding for education does not help young people achieve and get the step up they deserve.”
The hard won extra cash -separate to any other income streams- will be available for schools in East Cambs and Fenland to spend between now and 2020.
Local schools will be able to draw on additional money to have their own research school to help lead development and share best practice.
And by designating Fenland and East Cambs as areas of high priority, the Government will make money available for mentoring and career advice.
The extra money was made available after Education Secretary Justine Greening announced further ‘opportunity areas’ across England to target obstacles to social mobility.
The campaign to include East Cambs and Fenland among those sparked intense lobbying by both Ms Frazer and her MP colleague Steve Barclay.
Last October the minister announced that Norwich and Blackpool would be included in the first batch of six and become part of a cash backed drive to help young people to reach their potential.
Now, in a surprise move, she has added Fenland and East Cambs to that list.
Ms Frazer said: “I have been pressing the Secretary of State for some time for East Cambridgeshire to be included as an ‘Opportunity Area’.
“I have arranged for the head teachers of my secondary schools to meet with the Education Secretary and have raised this issue in the House of Commons putting the case for investment in our area, in particular as we are so well located near the thriving business centre around Cambridge.
“In response the Education Secretary said that one of the underlying principles behind opportunity areas is getting businesses to work with schools and provide opportunities that are good not only for developing the life skills of young people, but for setting higher aspirations.
“I have no doubt that it could work most effectively in East Cambridgeshire, which, as she set out, was recently ranked very low on the Social Mobility Commission index”.
Ms Frazer added: ” I am thrilled by the announcement that we have secured further education funding here, in addition to the fairer funding formula sums. This is something I feel passionate about and have consistently campaigned for.”
Mr Barclay said when he heard of the campaign’s success “quite simply put, it was one of the best days of my six years in Parliament”.
He said: “We have great talent and potential amongst the students in our schools which I see on a regular basis. This money will mean Fenland and East Cambs are now at the heart of the Department for Education’s flagship programme, and will have priority when bidding for other schemes in the future.”