Fiona has welcomed the announcement today of significant increase in funding for secondary school pupils' education - rising to the £4,800 per pupil minimum which she had campaigned for. In total, the Government has announced an extra £1.3bn per year into school budgets.
Speaking after the announcement in Parliament, Fiona said:
“I welcome today’s announcement that secondary school pupils in Cheshire East will receive £4,800 per year – which is exactly the amount put forward to the Government following a round-table meeting I organised between Head Teachers from my constituency and the Schools Minister, as long ago as last January. It’s great to have a Conservative Government who actually listens, and to have campaigned long and hard with this positive outcome, on something which means so much to people in my constituency.”
Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP said:
"This is a very good deal for Cheshire East Schools."
Comment from Headteacher in Congleton:
"We welcome the government's announcement yesterday that per-pupil funding is to be guaranteed at £4,800. Fiona Bruce has campaigned vigorously over a number of years about the poor funding attributed to Cheshire East schools and particularly over the last eight months in response to the government's proposed National Fairer Funding formula. Fiona has been a tremendous support to Headteachers in Cheshire East. She fully accepted that the proposed National Funding Formula was inherently iniquitous for Cheshire East schools and has been understanding and sympathetic as well as vigorous, forthright and determined in ensuring that the funding issue is highlighted, addressed and satisfactorily resolved."
Comment from Headteacher in Middlewich:
"Following the Secretary of State for Education announcing the future arrangements for school funding, I would like to express my gratitude to Fiona Bruce MP in supporting Middlewich High School and its community as we campaigned to get an improved deal for our young people's education."
Comment from Congleton Headteacher:
"Our plight as poorly funded schools was taken vigorously by our Local MP, Fiona Bruce, who was the first to act when the previous proposals were made in December 2016. We extremely grateful for Fiona's dedication and tenacity in this matter and her work alongside parents and others has led to this about turn by the Government to implement a fairer funding formula. We are delighted that the Government has now confirmed an additional £1.3 billion of funding in the next two years.
In particular, we are pleased that a minimum of £4,800 per secondary student has been guaranteed."
Comment from Headteacher in Holmes Chapel:
"Dear Fiona, Thank you for the work you have done..."
Comment from Alsager Headteacher:
“Fiona has been a huge supporter of fairer funding for schools for many years now. She has been brave enough to put the needs of her constituents above her party and immediately challenged the proposed new national funding formula for schools in December 2016. Fiona organised meetings for local Headteachers with MPs and DfE officials, has listened to the concerns raised by Heads, teachers, governors, parents and students throughout and has continually raised the issue of school funding in Westminster.
I hope this week’s announcement by The Secretary of State for Education does mean more money for schools (‘the devil will be in the detail’) and if it does, then Fiona has played a vital role in securing a better future for the young people in Cheshire East.”
Back in December, Fiona had been the first MP to oppose the previous school funding proposals in Parliament, saying:
"I want to speak today about just one issue of great concern, which is how negatively the proposed new national funding formula for schools will impact on schools in my Congleton constituency if it is not revised. It is critical for the children of my constituency that it is.
"We [in the Congleton Constituency had] expected a good funding increase...Imagine my heads’ consternation last week when they discovered that their funding will not increase, but actually drop. I use the word consternation; they used the word outrage. No wonder that within 48 hours of the announcement no fewer than five headteachers came to my constituency office to express their utter dismay...I hope that the Schools Minister will not just hear but act, by reviewing the impact of the new funding formula on the schools in my constituency. Without such a review, there will be grave implications for the education and life chances of the children about whom those headteachers care so deeply."
Fiona had also presented a petition of some 1,600 constituents of residents of the Congleton constituency and wider Cheshire East area to the House of Commons in April, calling for improved funding for local schools.
Fiona also met with the Education Secretary in March, to make the same case, and led a delegation of school teachers to meet with the Schools Minister in January.