In May, I welcomed the announcement from the Department for Education that Biddulph High School and James Bateman Middle School will receive part of the £450 million investment to improve school buildings across the country.
Overall, the government has committed £1.8 billion of capital funding for the financial year 2023-24 to improve the condition of school buildings – including £1.1 billion for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and voluntary aided bodies announced in March. It is great news that we will benefit from this in the Moorlands.
Having met with parents of children who have special educational needs, I understood the difficulties many families in the Moorlands faced as a result of a lack of such educational provision, particularly in Biddulph. I therefore met with the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing, raising my concerns and discussing what options there were to improve access to these services. On 20 April 2023, I then also presented the following petition in Parliament, calling for increased special educational needs provision in Biddulph:
"Declares that the Government should take actions to construct a new special school in the town of Biddulph in the Staffordshire Moorlands so that children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities from there and the nearby surrounding areas have access to a local specialist school, notes that; this follows discussions with parents and local councillors who have formed a support group and shows that there is a legitimate need for this kind of facility at a local level; further notes that mainstream schools do not have adequate resources to provide the specialist support that these students need and require, further declares that the number of students needing specialist education is increasing; furthermore there are also issues with lack of transport should this be needed for out of area travel which can, on occasion, be both stressful and daunting for the children who are requiring specialist education.
"The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take into account the concerns of the petitioners and take immediate action to construct a new special school in Biddulph."
I am continuing to correspond with both the Department of Education and the constituents concerned and am pushing for a resolution.
As your MP, I am involved with many issues concerning Education and schools in the Moorlands and, as well as having meetings with parents, headteachers, staff and local Councils, am able to raise your concerns directly with the Education Secretary and other Ministers.
One of the current issues is the situation at Biddulph High. I am aware of the letter that was sent to parents and can appreciate that both parents and students, together with the community as a whole, are concerned. I will be having a meeting with the school and the Trust and will do what I can to help.
In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor confirmed that schools will receive £2.3 billion of additional funding during both the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years, in addition to the support schools are getting from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. Having raised the importance of funding for schools with Ministers, I am pleased that the Government is taking action to ensure schools have the necessary funding to support pupils and staff.
The pandemic challenged many aspects of our lives, but few were as affected as schoolchildren, whose education was significantly disrupted throughout.
That is why I am pleased the Government are supporting children across the country to reach their full potential as funding to support children’s education recovery will be doubled in secondary schools.
The funding will help support schools deliver on the Education Secretary’s pledge to parents, that any child falling behind in English or maths, will receive targeted support to get back on track – with parents kept up to date on their progress.
The Education Recovery Plan – worth nearly £5 billion – is key to driving forward efforts to level up education across the country and I am glad schools across the Moorlands will benefit from it.
14th January 2020
I welcome the Gvernment investment of over £46 million in schools across Staffordshire Moorlands – the largest funding boost in a decade, levelling up per pupil funding to ensure that all schools have the right investment to deliver an outstanding education in Staffordshire Moorlands.
The cash boost will mean that every secondary school in Staffordshire Moorlands will receive at least £5,000 per pupil and every local primary school will receive at least £3,750 per pupil next year, which will rise to £4,000 per pupil the following year.
To ensure that schools fully benefit the Government will set regulations later this month to ensure local authorities pass on these minimum per pupil funding levels to schools. As well as supporting the lowest funded schools, this marks an important step towards a ‘hard’ national funding formula – where schools’ budgets are set on the basis of a single, national formula.
This funding will make sure that every parent Staffordshire Moorlands can be sure their children are getting a world class education that is right for them, and none are held back from reaching their potential.”
I am working hard to support all our local schools and following our increase in funding in primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years, this year’s multi-million-pound fund will support our pledge to create more good school places, continue raising standards and getting fairer funding for Staffordshire. I am also working to give a long-term sustainable future to our local special needs schools, including Horton Lodge and Cicely Haughton .