MPs meet education secretary over North Yorkshire schools' funding

Michael Gove

Michael Gove

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

EDUCATION secretary, Michael Gove, has promised to address concerns over future funding for North Yorkshire schools "properly and promptly".

In April, the Government will introduce a new system of funding for schools which many say will hit those serving military families and rural areas, disproportionately.

North Yorkshire County Council has calculated that six primary schools in the area could lose more than £430,000 a year between them, while Risedale Community College could see a drop in funding of nearly £600,000.

Schools in the Catterick Garrison, Colburn and Catterick Village will be hit severely by the new funding formula because of the mobile nature of the military communities they serve.

North Yorkshire County Councillors recently voted in favour of the leader of North Yorkshire County Council, John Weighell, writing to the Prime Minister, urging him to intervene over the education department’s changes.

Today (Thursday, January 10), Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith, met with Education Secretary. Michael Gove at Westminster.

Also present was York Outer MP, Julian Sturdy, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones and Selby MP, Nigel Adams. The MPs put the case for more flexibility in the new funding formula for rural schools.

Mr Smith said: “The Government is changing the formula for schools which generally is a good decision. It will make the process more transparent and it will probably benefit from it.

“I think some schools are concerned – from the consultation – that they may lose out, smaller rural schools particularly.”

The MP said during the meeting Mr Gove was “sympathetic” to their concerns and said he would report back with his views soon.

“He’s basically going to look at North Yorkshire further. He’s coming up to the region in the next few weeks,” said Mr Smith.

In response, Mr Gove said: “Julian Smith and other North Yorkshire MPs made it clear to me that we need to look closely at school funding to ensure that it is fair and simple.

"I know how hard he fights for all state schools in his constituency and the level of public concern North Yorkshire MPs have brought to my attention needs dealing with properly and promptly.

“I will be reporting back shortly and I know that the North Yorkshire MP team will continue to campaign for this issue to be addressed."

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