Last week the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, confirmed that the government will be investing an additional £1.3billion in schools over the next two years, in addition to the spending commitments on education that had previously been announced. This means that there will be an increase in the funding that every pupil in every school will attract. It also means that per pupil funding for schools will maintained in real terms for the remaining two years of the government’s spending review period, as the transition is made to the new National Funding Formula for schools.
The National Funding Formula will come into effect in April next year, and is designed to make schools funding clearer and fairer, and remove the previous rules that led to schools in different parts of the country receiving different levels of funding, for no justifiable reason. The Department for Education has prepared an illustrative level of funding for schools in the Folkestone and Hythe constituency under the proposed National Funding Formula. This would see increases in funding for all local primary and secondary schools, with an average budget increase of 4.9% across schools in the constituency. I hope that these new figures will reassure schools and parents who had raised questions about the impact that the new schools funding formula would have on their children. Earlier in the year there was a considerable amount of speculation, based on made up figures, and before the consultation on the new funding formula had been completed, which suggested that there would be cuts in school’s budgets and per pupil funding. This was not what we wanted and is not what is being proposed by the Department for Education.
On Friday this week I will be meeting with the GP led South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss their proposals to increase funding for practices in Folkestone, and for the arrangements they are looking to put in place to ensure that all patients have access to local GP services, following the closure of the Folkestone East Family Practice, in November. As I have stated before, and has also been made clear by the Health Secretary and the South Kent Coast CCG, proper access to local GP services has to be maintained for all residents. I will be updating my constituents on the latest situation following this meeting.
Last Sunday, I attended the annual Battle of Britain Sunday, memorial service at St Stephen’s church in Lympne. This year marks the 77th anniversary of the battle, where in the skies above Kent, those brave few airmen fought to defend this country and protect the peace and liberty of all mankind from the tyranny of Nazism. I would like to thank the Royal Air Forces Association for organising this important and moving service. It was also excellent to see the service supported once again by the Folkestone RAF air cadets.