Mary Creagh

Working hard for Wakefield

Mary Creagh condemns Government's school funding plans

This week, Mary spoke in Parliament on the Government’s new National Funding Formula for schools. She condemned the Government for missing the opportunity to redress the inequalities of education, which has left Wakefield historically underfunded for too long. Every school in Wakefield will lose funding under the Government's plans. Funding in Wakefield per pupil is projected to fall from £4,726 in 2015/16, to £4,211 in 2019/20, a cut of 11%.

Watch her contribution here:


Read her speech here:

Every child in this country, and every disabled child in this country, deserves a decent education. The principle that no child should be worse off as a result of these funding reforms should run through this consultation. Where a child was born should not dictate their life chances, yet that is the case for too many children in our country, and too many children in Wakefield, where 25% of them are growing up in poverty. I was proud to be a member of the last Labour Government, who lifted nearly a million children out of poverty, and I am so disappointed by what this Government have done, overseeing the closure of 800 Sure Start centres and changing the goalposts on measuring child poverty.Wakefield schools have taken a very deep hit from these proposals

Fair funding should mean a levelling up, not a levelling down. Every school in my constituency will see their funding cut under the Secretary of State’s proposals. The manifesto promise to protect education spending has been broken, as we have heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg). The Government have not provided for funding per pupil to increase in line with inflation; have not accounted for the increase in pupils attending schools; and have not considered the costs of higher national insurance and pension contributions, which now have to be absorbed by the school budgets. When the efficiency savings are factored into the funding formula, funding in Wakefield per pupil will fall from £4,725 this year to £4,211 in 2019-20—a real-terms cut of 11%.

Nine maintained schools across Wakefield district are projected to be in deficit by 31 March, which means increased class sizes, subjects dropped from the curriculum, pupils with special educational needs and disabilities losing vital support, and teacher vacancies left unfilled.

There will also be a very worrying impact on special educational needs. At the moment, there is some flexibility to move money around and to move it into the high needs block. Under the new formula, there will be disruption and uncertainty around special needs funding for cities such as Wakefield. The funds are simply not enough for children in our city who need that extra support

We cannot have a situation in which there is just not enough money to go around to educate all children well. In Wakefield, we will see 1,000 more pupils start school in September and yet no money has been allocated for that increase, which means that the schools and the pupils will miss out. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that schools in England face the steepest cuts to funding since the 1970s.Despite those circumstances, headteachers such as Martin Fenton at Greenhill Primary, Rob Marsh at Cathedral Academy, and Georgina Haley at Netherton Junior and Infant School are doing excellent work in my constituency to improve the life chances of children in Wakefield. I urge the Secretary of State to drop her grammar school plans, revise the national funding formula for schools, and make sure that we do not go back to the bad old days. I was at school at the same time as she was. I had to pay £12 for my O-level physics textbook, and we did not have a teacher for two years in the good old days of the 1984 teaching budgets. We do not want to go back to those days.

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