The fight for fairer funding for North Devon’s schools marches on

• Back row l to r: Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College, Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Families, Michael Johnson, Executive Head of Chulmleigh Community College. Front row l to r: Leader NDC Cllr Des Brailey, North Devon MP Peter Heaton Jones, NDC Cllr David Worden.• Back row l to r: Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College, Councillor James McInnes, Devon County Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Families, Michael Johnson, Executive Head of Chulmleigh Community College. Front row l to r: Leader NDC Cllr Des Brailey, North Devon MP Peter Heaton Jones, NDC Cllr David Worden.

Posted on: 16 February 2017

The fight for fairer funding for North Devon’s schools has taken another step forward.

Local MP Peter Heaton Jones attended a special meeting of the North Devon Council Executive where he vowed to ‘keep fighting’ for a better deal.

The meeting was instigated by Cllr David Worden, a former teacher, who is ‘infuriated’ by the government’s so called ‘fairer funding’ for schools which could see Devon schools lose out by almost £300 per pupil compared to the national average.

Devon County Council’s Head of Learning and Education Dawn Stabb and Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Families Councillor James McInnes also came to the meeting to echo the calls for better funding from the government. They also explained the difficulties they face in funding schools from their own budget.

Two local headteachers Michael Johnson, Executive Head of Chulmleigh Community College and Andrew Finney, Principal of South Molton Community College came to express how negatively the budget cuts would affect their pupils.

Peter Heaton Jones said: “Schools in North Devon are the best I have seen in terms of the commitment of the headteachers, the teaching and non-teaching staff, the parents and the pupils. This is about giving them the best education that we can and this will be at the forefront of my mind as we discuss this going forward.”

Council Leader Cllr Des Brailey said: “I’d like to thank everyone who came today and I was heartened to see all the passion and support for this issue. I want to particularly thank our MP who took time out of his busy schedule to attend our meeting. It shows how determined he is to fight for a better funding deal for our local schools.”

Cllr David Worden said: “I’m really pleased that we had such a positive meeting. Everyone is very supportive of students in Devon and recognises the need for the government to have another look at the funding formula and come up with something better for our pupils.”

At the end of the meeting, members of the Executive agreed to call on Devon’s MPs to press for fairer funding for the area to bring funding into line with other areas of the country and to recognise the additional difficulties faced by small rural schools and those in deprived areas. They also called on DCC to reconsider the allocation of funding when setting its budget to alleviate the shortfall in funding within its control.

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