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Education Funding (South Staffordshire)

Volume 561: debated on Monday 22 April 2013

3. What assessment he has made of the level of education funding received by children in South Staffordshire; and if he will make a statement. (152076)

In 2013-14, the Department for Education allocated £4,310 per pupil for pupils in mainstream schools in Staffordshire, plus an additional £900 for each deprived pupil through the pupil premium.

Our schools in South Staffordshire receive on average £695 less than schools in neighbouring Wolverhampton. Many of my constituents think that that is grossly unfair and want it to be rebalanced. What action is my right hon. Friend taking to rebalance it to ensure we get a fair deal for pupils in Staffordshire?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the last Government left us a funding formula for schools that allocates money across the country in an unfair and irrational way. That is why we intend to introduce a national funding formula, and in the meantime we are funding £20 million more to Staffordshire through the pupil premium.

Order. The question covered Staffordshire, but not Worcestershire. We can let in Mr Fabricant.

As you well know, Mr Speaker, Lichfield was, I like to think, the original capital of Staffordshire, and it was certainly the capital of Mercia and was the first place—even before Canterbury—to have an archbishop, but we digress. I am very relieved to hear that the funding formula, which is so unfair, will be addressed, but we heard that long ago from the Labour party when it was in government, so can my right hon. Friend the Minister give some indication of when it will actually happen?

I will not comment on the earlier parts of the hon. Gentleman’s question, but what I can tell him is that this issue is at the top of not only my in-tray but that of the Secretary of State.