MP calls for fairer school funding in Cambs

CHILDREN in the county are being disadvantaged by a school funding system that leaves Cambridgeshire almost at the bottom of the pile, according to MP Jim Paice.

He has joined forces with five other MPs from the county, in a bid to increase the cash that local schools receive from the government’s “unfair” funding system.

Cambridgeshire is currently ranked 143 out of 151 local authorities - and receives �441 less per pupil that the national average.

In 2011/12, the county received �4,643 per pupil; neighbouring authority Peterborough was ranked 55th in the country and received �5,168 per pupil.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Mr Paice and the other MPs write: “We remain concerned about the level of funding which the county currently receives for schools.

“We believe the system is fundamentally unfair and fails to reflect the needs of young people in Cambridgeshire accurately.

“We are also concerned at the impact that this poor level of funding is having upon teaching and learning in Cambridgeshire.

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“Cambridgeshire has one of the largest gaps between the achievement of pupils who are deprived and those from more affluent backgrounds.

“It remains the case that the underlying funding system is unfair and disadvantages children in Cambridgeshire, as there is insufficient funding to meet the basic education needs of all pupils, as well as the specialist education needs of some pupils.”

The letters says the MPS welcome moves by the government to change the schools funding system, and says a new procedure should “reduce the inherent unfairness” of the current system and should ensure that “every pupils receives basic funding entitlement that reflects the cost of educating a child anywhere in the country.”

Mr Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, said: “It is unfair that due to historical accident and an out of date assessment of needs, schools in our county are funded well below the national average, and it is time for this to change.”