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Education in Essex: Funding

Volume 654: debated on Monday 4 February 2019

By 2019-20, schools in Essex will receive 3.3% more funding per pupil compared with the level in 2017-18—this is an additional £141 per pupil or £48.7 million in total. In 2019-20, therefore, Essex will receive £855.8 million in school funding—a record amount.

Notwithstanding the Minister’s response on the funding that Essex will receive, the county council is seeking to transfer funds from the schools block to the high-needs block, as there is not enough money for children with special educational needs. My right hon. Friend the Minister knows that any transfer of funds will have a knock-on impact on educational funding throughout Essex, so will he work with me and the county council to address this issue?

I am very happy to do so. I know that my right hon. Friend takes a particular interest in special-needs education in her constituency. High-needs funds for Essex were increased to £139.1 million this year, and will rise to £141 million next year, but she is right to point to the increase in pressures on the high-needs budget, which is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in December an extra £250 million over two years. We will work closely with the Treasury as we prepare for the next spending review to ensure that we secure the best funding settlement possible to address this and other school funding issues.

I am very glad to hear it. I should add, in parenthesis, that the county is of course also home to the life-transforming University of Essex, of which I am very fortunate to be chancellor.

And it is also home to the Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford.

Schools in my constituency in Essex were delighted to see in the NHS long-term plan that the NHS intends to help schools with funding for mental health support. How do my local schools access these funds?

My hon. Friend raises an important point. We take young people’s mental health very seriously, which is why we recently published the Green Paper on mental health for children and young people. We will fund and place in every school a designated mental health lead, supported by mental health support units, which we are rolling out to trailblazer areas as we speak. That is how my hon. Friend’s local schools will be able to access those funds.