Rt Hon Greg Hands MP for Chelsea and Fulham reporting back
Greg visiting Fulham Boys School at its previous, temporary site
As it’s the first full week of September, I’m sure that many of you reading this, as I have, have been busy preparing to send your children back to school. From experience, I know just how exciting but equally stressful this can be!
Since becoming a Member of Parliament, I have been determined to ensure that every child in Fulham receives the best possible start in life. As the co-patron of the ground-breaking Fulham Boys School and previously a governor of St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School in SW6 I have seen first-hand how crucial a high-quality education is to enable a child to reach their full potential. It gives them the tools and life skills they need to succeed and reach that potential. Without them, it’s far more difficult to do so.
I’m proud to serve as part of a government that prioritises education. Since 2019-20, school funding increased by 4.5% in both 2020-21 and 2021-22. In the last school year, schools in Chelsea and Fulham received £6,596 per pupil. Above the national average and more than ever before. This school year, the Government has increased funding by a further 4.2%. I will continue to fight for schools in our part of London to get their fair share.
The first two funding increases in 2020-21 and 2021-22 were against the backdrop of COVID-19. The pandemic, as it did with almost everything else, had a devasting impact on education and our children. It deprived most children of access to schools overnight as they were forced out of the classroom.
The work of thousands of dedicated teachers, parents and guardians ensured that children continued to receive some education throughout the pandemic. In many cases, this was only possible due to the 1.3 million computers, laptops and tablets that the Government supplied to schools and local authorities through its Get Help With Technology programme.
Despite this, unfortunately, children missed out. Teachers recognise this. By July 2020, after a long period of teaching and learning under COVID-19 restrictions, 74% of teachers felt they were not able to teach to their usual standard. It goes without saying that this was through no fault of their own. However, in response to this, the Government has continued to increase education funding as we have emerged from the pandemic, to ensure that schools have adequate staffing and resources to enable children to catch up on the education they have missed.
Underneath the headline figure, these increases in funding have also been targeted to ensure longstanding issues within our education system are addressed. For example, the funding available for school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has risen to £2.6 billion. This has increased the number of places available for SEND pupils in mainstream schools, helping address a shortfall. The money that has been invested has been well spent.
This week a new Government will be formed. It will continue to focus on education funding regardless of who the new Prime Minister is. The Department for Education has already confirmed the total school budget will increase to £5.6 billion by 2024-25. Consequently, spending per pupil nationally will be over £1,500 more than in 2019-20.
I’m proud of that. As your MP, I have continually held regular Q&As with our local schools and offered them tours of Parliament to encourage learning about Parliament, democracy and citizenship. I will continue to do so.
The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP
Member of Parliament for Chelsea and Fulham
You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching for @GregHands
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September 5, 2022