Julian Knight's Westminster Diary: 18/07/17

Solihull Observer

This week Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, announced that the Government was adding an extra £1.3 billion to the core schools budget.

She also announced an important change to the new school funding formula: local authorities will now have much more discretion over how the funds are spent, and it will be indicative for the first two years so the Government can adapt to feedback from the front line.

Campaigning for a fairer deal for Solihull schools has been one of my top priorities ever since I was elected as your MP in 2015. 

I supported F40, the cross-party campaign to close the unfair funding gaps created by Labour’s funding system, and spoke up for Solihull schools both in Parliament and in meetings with ministers.

This latest funding boost comes on top of the extra £500 million pledged by the Government last March to smooth the transition to a new system, and I’m very pleased that ministers are continuing to listen to campaigners and concerned MPs.

Last week I had a productive meeting with local campaigners, and earlier this year I held two open surgeries for local head teachers where I received lots of very valuable first-hand evidence about the challenges facing our schools.

My campaigning has really emphasised to me how much progress our schools have made since I was a pupil years ago. Successive ministers have started to unpick the one-size-fits-all model which was letting so many children down.

The statistics tell their own story: there were 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools in 2016 than there were in 2010. That’s almost two million more young people being given a better chance to fulfil their potential and pursue their dreams.

I’m proud that our town enjoys so many excellent schools, and that Solihull has been a leader when it comes to adapting to change and preparing our young people for life in the 21st Century economy. Speaking up for them will remain one of my top priorities when Parliament returns in September.

Originally published in the Solihull Observer, 18/07/17.