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14th Nov, 2019

Education secretary Gavin Williamson visits Dorridge Primary School to discuss funding - amid election speculation

EDUCATION secretary Gavin Williamson chose Solihull to discuss more government funding for schools.

With speculaton of a general election within weeks, he stopped off at Dorridge Primary School, Station Road, Dorridge to highlight a ‘£175 million cash boost’ for West Midlands primary and secondary schools.

It is part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s education spending announcement last month of £14 billion over three years.

Solihull has been at the forefront of campaigning for fairer schools’ funding, including from headteachers and campaigners.

Earlier this year, headteachers wrote to ministers warning of further harm to pupils from ongoing ‘real-terms budget cuts’.

Campaign criticism of the government over several years was defended by Conservative MPs including Meriden MP Caroline Spelman.

The borough’s Conservative MPs and Solihull Council Tory leaders had emphasised that their own campaigning had contributed to a better three-year funding settlement for Solihull in 2017.

Mr Williamson tweeted today: “The commitment of everyone I met yesterday to providing excellence at Dorridge Primary School – from the chair of governors and headteacher down – is phenomenal.

“And the school council’s 20 questions was at least as tough as anything I faced this morning!”

Mr Williamson added: “In my visits to Walsall and Solihull, I spoke at length with teachers, heads and school leaders and recognise the pressures they have faced.

“I want them and parents to be safe in the knowledge that all children can get the top-quality education they deserve in classrooms across the country.

“Our continuing investment in education, coupled with a bold reform agenda and the work of Ofsted will supercharge the ongoing rise in school standards.

“Our schools do a brilliant job and I want parents and teachers to know that we’ve listened to them and are investing in our children’s futures.

“That’s why this government has announced the biggest funding boost for schools in a decade which will give every school more money for every child – with the biggest increases going to the schools that need it most.”

Solihull borough Conservative politicians have long called on government to redress funding disparities between local authority areas which they claim disadvantage Solihull.

But teachers’ unions, schools and campaigners from the Fair Funding for Solihull Schools campaign have maintained more funding across the board is needed for all schools, rather than taking from some and giving to others.

Mr Johnson claimed today in a climate of potential election sweeteners from all main parties: “We’re already delivering on this promise with schools receiving more than £14 billion additional funding over the next three years, meaning every pupil in every school will get more money, and funding across the country will be levelled up.

“Today we are setting out more detail about how schools across the country will benefit next year. This investment will give schools, teachers and parents the certainty to plan, helping further improve standards and ensure our children and young people get a truly world-class education.”

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