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House of Commons Hansard
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Petitions
22 January 2018
Volume 635

Petitions

Monday 22 January 2018

Observations

Education

Fair Funding for Schools

The petition of residents of Ilkley and Wharfedale,

Declares that the cuts in spending in schools in Ilkley and Wharfedale will lead to redundancies amongst teachers and teaching assistants, increasing class sizes, reduction in the range of subjects on offer and a decline in educational standards.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to reverse the cuts that have been made to school budgets in Ilkley and Wharfedale; further to protect per pupil funding in real terms in the schools of Ilkley and Wharfedale over the lifetime of this Parliament; and further to ensure no school loses out in real terms as a result of any new funding formula.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by John Grogan, Official Report, 16 November 2017; Vol. 631, c. 3P.]

[P002080]

Observations from the Minister for School Standards (Nick Gibb):

The Department for Education announced the final details of the national funding formulae for schools and high needs on September 14 last year. This followed extensive consultations, with over 26,000 responses from individuals and representative organisations.

The introduction of the national funding formula is supported by significant extra funding of £1.3 billion across 2018-19 and 2019-20, over and above the budget announced at the 2015 spending review. Core funding for schools and high needs will therefore rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £42.4 billion in 2018-19 and £43.5 billion in 2019-20. As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed, school and high needs funding will be maintained in real terms per pupil for the next two years. With the additional funding, the national funding formula will:

Increase the basic amount of funding that every pupil will attract.

Recognise the challenges of the very lowest funded schools, by introducing a minimum per pupil funding level. Under the national funding formula, in 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil. In 2018-19, as a step towards these minimum funding levels, secondary schools will attract at least £4,600, and primary schools £3,300.

Provide a cash increase for every school and every local area from April 2018. Final decisions on local distribution will be taken by local authorities, but under the national funding formula every school will attract at least 0.5% more per pupil in 2018-19, and 1% more in 2019- 20, compared to its baseline.

Provide significantly larger increases for underfunded schools, of up to 3% per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3% per pupil in 2019-20.

Full details on the provisional allocations for local authorities and schools can be found here: https://www. gov.uk/government/publications/national-funding -formula-tables-for-schools-and-high-needs. These include notional school level allocations showing what each school would attract through the formula.

Under the final national funding formula, schools in Keighley would gain 2.1% more funding if the formula were fully implemented (based on 2017-18 data). Bradford schools will continue to have higher per pupil funding than the national average under the national funding formula, which reflects their individual circumstances, in particular the high proportion of pupils with additional needs (deprivation, low prior attainment, English as an additional language, etc) in Bradford schools. The national funding formula allocates additional funding to schools with high numbers of pupils with additional needs to help those who are most likely to fall behind their peers.

To provide stability for schools through the transition to the national funding formula, local authorities will continue to set their own local formulae, in consultation with local schools, which will determine individual schools’ budgets in their areas in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Bradford local authority will be confirming individual schools’ 2018-19 budgets in the coming weeks, to provide schools with their allocations ahead of the new financial year as normal.

Transport

Congestion on the A40 between Witney and Oxford

The petition of residents of Witney and West Oxfordshire,

Declares that current high levels of traffic congestion on the A40 between Witney and Oxford have become unsustainable and the residents of Witney and West Oxfordshire require a permanent solution; further that the Government should bring forward proposals for improvements to be made to the A40; further that West Oxfordshire residents and businesses unduly suffer due to current poor provision for roads, cycleways and public transport; further that changes should be made to the A40 to ensure the area’s ongoing commercial and residential success; and further that with plans for significant further development at the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village, alongside other projected growth in the area, the aforementioned factors will continue to worsen over time.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Robert Courts, Official Report, 20 December 2017; Vol. 633, c. 1243.]

[P002095]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman):

The Government have an ambitious strategy for tackling congestion across the country. This includes significant new investment in both the strategic and local road networks, as well as encouragement for more sustainable transport including buses, walking and cycling.

This section of the A40 is the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council. But the Government recognise its importance to the economic growth of Oxfordshire. The Government are investing £35 million on public transport improvements on the A40, alongside £9.5 million for Didcot station, which is a key gateway to Science Vale and the Enterprise Zone. This is in addition to investing some £19.4 million, in this financial year 2017-18, to reduce congestion at key locations and improve the maintenance of local highway assets across the county as a whole.

Oxford and Oxfordshire local authorities and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership secured £55.5 million in January 2014 through their City Deal, which runs until 2021. The deal supports business expansion by delivering major improvements to transport links, including the A34 and the A40 ‘Northern Gateway’, with a new £28.8 million link road from the A40 to the A44.

In January 2017, it was announced that Oxfordshire would become home to one of the first Garden Villages in the country, at a site north of Eynsham. The new garden village will provide much-needed homes and jobs, and is likely to enhance the case for improvements to local transport links, including upgrades to the A40.

The A40 is also likely to be on the Major Road Network. This major new programme will see substantial amounts of new investment available for each road enhancement scheme on the final network, funded from the National Roads Fund, which will be established in 2020-21.

I would encourage local partners to share their views on how to define the Major Road Network and how investments on this new network should be planned and assessed by responding to the Government’s consultation, which runs until 19 March this year. I would also encourage local partners to continue to work together to explore further options to address the issues along the A40 for the County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership to determine priorities for investment.