The national funding formula provides additional support for small primary schools and rural schools. For example, the sparsity factor allocates £25 million specifically to schools that are both small and remote. Coupled with the lump sum, a small rural primary school could attract up to £135,000 through those factors alone.
Village schools are incredibly important institutions in rural life, but their numbers absolutely collapsed over the past 40 years. Will my right hon. Friend look very closely, in the run-up to the spending review, at increasing further that lump sum and the sparsity premium, so that we can protect these institutions?
We will keep the formula design under consideration and we will consider feedback on specific factors when developing the formula in the future. For this coming financial year, the formula is already fixed. However, as I said earlier we are in discussion and preparing for the spending review. We want the best possible settlement for small rural schools and the education sector as a whole.