Sunday, 11 October 2015 18:47

Rural schools 'deserve fairer funding'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural schools 'deserve fairer funding'

NORTH Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak has launched a campaign to get a better funding deal for rural schools.

Schools in the county receive hundreds of pounds less per pupil than neighbouring urban authorities, said Mr Sunak, who is MP for the Richmond constituency.

A gathering of primary school head teachers and governors had gave their support to the fight to change the national funding formula.

They had put their names to a petition calling on the Government to change the ways funds are distributed.

The campaign was launched at an education forum held by Mr Sunak at the Scotch Corner Holiday Inn.

The petition calls on the government to introduce a new national funding formula to replace the existing "arbitrary and unfair" system.

More than 50 head teachers and governors from schools in the constituency attended the forum.

Mr Sunak said "The current funding rules used by government to distribute cash to schools was out of date and unfair.

"It is based upon historic criteria that discriminates against rural areas.

"There can be no justification for a formula which gives schools in Bradford and Middlesbrough about £400 per pupil more than North Yorkshire.

The government earlier this year agreed to adjust the funding arrangement so that the county received an £10m every year, said Mr Sunak.

"We can do better and should do better than that," he said.

"Even with this extra money, schools in our area still receive substantially less than schools in other parts of the country and that's simply not fair."

One head teacher at the event, Rob Campbell, of the 63-pupil Ravensworth CE School, near Richmond, said he wholeheartedly supported the campaign.

Mr Campbell said: "The current formula makes no allowance for the challenges small rural schools face such as mixed ability classes.

He added: "I'm pleased our local MP is engaging with this issue and is eager to support rural schools like ours."

Mr Sunak said school funding was an important issue.

"I am doing my best to bring about this change in Westminster but it is the cumulative impact of all our voices that will help make this happen."

The Fair School Funding Campaign petition can be found at https://fairerschoolfunding.wordpress.com/petition/

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