Craig Mackinlay MP has visited Worth Primary School as part of the National Governance Association’s (NGA) ‘Week of Action’ on school funding. During the visit, the Chair of Governors, the Executive Head Teacher and Head of School, as well as staff and pupils, pressed Craig on the importance of additional funding to help the School.
The national formula for school funding for local authority maintained schools, routed through Kent County Council in this case, is allocated on a per pupil basis. Worth Primary School, having just ten pupils in each class year suffers under this formula against larger schools. Physical restraints limit further expansion at the school despite demand from local residents in Worth, which is itself expanding after recent modest housing developments.
Craig Mackinlay MP, commented:
“More money is going into our schools and school funding is at a record high. The core schools budget has increased to £42.4 billion this academic year and is set to rise to £43.5 billion in 2019-20. In fact, figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) show that real terms per-pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50 per cent higher than it was in 2000.
“I recognise that the funding formula does not fit well for smaller village schools. There is some recognition of this at KCC’s discretion when considering annual budgets, but the Head and Governors explained to me that budget settlements are agreed just weeks before the financial year starts, and there is no ability to plan forwards, particularly for capital projects and planned maintenance. I offered to do all that I can to ensure that this exceptional school, well loved by its community, gets its voice heard and plan more effectively for a successful future.”
The Executive Head Teacher and Head of Worth Primary School, Tracey Sandy, added:
“The children were very interested and engaged in Mr Mackinlay's visit. They enjoyed the opportunity to find out more about our democratic system and how funding issues are a part of Mr Mackinlay's role in the community.”