Dear Parents / Carers
Many thanks to everyone who has responded so quickly to my letter about the proposed changes to school funding. It shows how much the community cares about this school and our young people and I really appreciate it. Fiona Bruce MP has sent a reply below and rest assured she is listening and is supportive. As you will see she encourages you to respond to the formal consultation. I do know how complicated that consultation is and the questions are often difficult to decipher. My advice is please give it a go and if you are unsure of a question, please move on to the next.
Many thanks once again and let us hope that we are listened to.
I am writing to you to confirm that I very much share the concerns which have been highlighted to you by the Headteacher of Alsager School, Richard Middlebrook, regarding the Government’s current proposals to change the funding arrangements of each school pupil. I absolutely agree that for pupils in my constituency and the wider Cheshire East area these are far from fair. Please be assured that I have taken expeditious action to challenge the Government about them. Within 48 hours of hearing of them I convened a round table meeting in my Constituency Office with a group of Headteachers, to discuss a strategic plan of action to challenge them. Early the following week, indeed at the earliest opportunity, I spoke at length in opposition to them in the House of Commons, the first MP to do so. Please have a look at this – you will find a copy at the foot of this e-mail.
As a result of that I obtained a meeting with the Government’s Schools Minister on the first working day back after Christmas, to which I invited all the Senior School Headteachers in my Constituency, and which Mr Middlebrook attended together with four others, and the Leader of Cheshire East Council, the Director of Education of the Council, and two neighbouring MPs. This was a constructive meeting in which the implications of the low funding for Cheshire East pupils if these are not changed was clearly spelt out to the Schools Minister who in turn, was clearly listening. Indeed, he asked the Headteachers to come back to him with their proposals as to the minimum level of funding which any pupil, wherever they are in the country, should be allocated in order to receive fair funding. Attached to this e-mail is a copy of the press release which was sent out after that meeting together with an agreed statement on behalf of all those who attended to meet the Minister. Since then I have been in virtually daily discussions and meetings regarding this issue, both in Westminster and in the Constituency, and am currently in dialogue with the BBC with a view to them highlighting our concerns on news programmes, hopefully next week.
What can you do to help? Please be assured that I am very much aware of your concerns – so the very best thing you can do, and I cannot overestimate how important this is, is for you to contribute to the Government’s consultation on this issue. Every contribution will be counted. Please contribute as soon as possible rather than leaving it to the deadline of 22nd March. You can do so by accessing this link – https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/. Thank you in anticipation of your assistance in this regard.
Please be assured that I will continue to campaign in the strongest terms, working together with Headteachers from both Senior and Junior Schools in the Constituency to challenge, and change, these unjust proposals. Our local pupils deserve the same resources and backing as any others across the country.
Fiona Bruce MP