Teachers and politicians came together to demand the government ploughs more money into Cheshire schools during a meeting at Wilmslow High School on Friday, 17th May.
Cheshire East MPs from across the political spectrum have shown great commitment to the campaign for increased school funding. This pressure brought the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to a meeting of primary and secondary school leaders, organised by Esther McVey, at which particular local challenges were explained.
Representatives from Wilmslow High School, Manor Park School in Knutsford, Wincham Community Primary and Little Bollington Church of England from within Tatton constituency, were joined by Headteachers from Fallibroome Academy, Macclesfield, Quinta Primary School in Congleton, Sound and District Primary School in Nantwich and Willow Wood Community Primary School in Winsford from neighbouring constituencies.
They joined Ms McVey and her colleagues Macclesfield MP David Rutley, Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach and Congleton MP Fiona Bruce.
Ms McVey said: "The challenges faced by individual schools in the area vary greatly from rural schools, small schools or schools in more deprived areas and it is vital that Damian Hinds understands the problems teachers and governors are facing. Education needs to be focused on individual need and everyone given the right support they need to achieve the best they can.
"It was clear in the meeting that there are a number of factors that mean the current funding formula does not work well for Cheshire Schools. In fact, there is no real acknowledgement that all schools have an underlying cost before any pupil arrives. If you are a small school then just covering those basics can be a challenge with the current formula. We need to act on this and give schools the money they need to provide young people with a first class education."
All headteachers at the meeting raised concerns over Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND) provision and how it is currently funded. The Department for Education has just started a consultation into SEND provision.
Ms McVey added: "Inclusive schools are disadvantaged because of the way SEND provision works and this cannot be allowed to continue."
Dr James Pulle, Headteacher of Wilmslow High School commented, "The Secretary of State listened carefully to the concerns of school leaders and local MPs. He showed a welcome commitment to argue for increased school funding during the forthcoming Treasury-led Comprehensive Spending Review.
"Furthermore, his recognition of the specific issues surrounding the sufficiency of funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and way it is allocated was especially encouraging. The current SEND funding system is not fit for purpose and that impacts on the quality of education received by all children and young people, not just those with additional high needs. This challenge is greater in those schools which are highly inclusive. The Secretary of State appeared determined to address this."