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Extra £5 million for Worcestershire schools after fairer funding fight
1:00pm Saturday 15th March 2014 in Local
AN EXTRA £5 million is being handed to Worcestershire's schools - as the Government came good on its fairer funding promise.
Education minister David Laws recently unveiled a £350 million package for the worst-funded areas of the UK for education, including this county.
The move, which comes after years of campaigning from parents, schools and MPs, was welcomed by Redditch MP Karen Lumley who said she was "absolutely delighted".
For decades Worcestershire has languished near the bottom of the country's school funding league table, and stands 145th out of 151.
The £5 million will be handed to Worcestershire County Council as extra funding from April 2015, on top of the amounts already offered.
Mrs Lumley said: "This is something that I’m sure will be welcomed in schools and by parents throughout the country, particularly in Worcestershire, where our funding has been far too low for far too long.
"A £350million increase in funding represents a huge step forwards towards fair funding in English schools. It will make a real difference on the ground in Redditch. It delivers fairness without creating instability, uncertainty or cuts in better funded areas.
"Colleagues and I have been fighting hard on this issue for a number of years, and this news makes all the hard work worthwhile. We have seen schools in Redditch improve overwhelmingly in recent years and this increase in funding will allow standards to continue to soar.”
Councillor Juliet Brunner, a member of a campaign group f40 (the worst funded authorities in the country) for 16 years, added: "For years we've campaigned for fairer education funding for Worcestershire and I'm pleased that our MP Karen Lumley has been able to help us finally get more money for our children's education.
"I could never understand why my children were worth less than their cousins who live 12 miles away in Birmingham.
"I'm grateful that the Government are accepting our argument and this funding is a step in the right direction."
The £5 million will be put through an in-house funding formula at County Hall and handed out to secondaries and primaries.
At the moment pupils in Worcestershire get an average of £5,100 per head, £1,333 below those in Birmingham.
Councillor Liz Eyre, the county council's cabinet member for children and families said: "This is really good news for Worcestershire. It’s a good step towards a fairer funding process for schools.
"We always appreciated that step would be incremental and could not happen overnight."