“The Prime Minister’s announcement to make another £14billion available to our schools over the next 3 financial years is highly significant and incredibly important for schools in West Norfolk.” That was the view of Henry who on Tuesday 3rd September helped sponsor a debate in Parliament on schools in East Anglia.
The full debate can be viewed via the following link: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-09-03/debates/A8CE5BC7-B52C-4126-9C6F-41353B64F0B2/SchoolFundingEastAnglia#contribution-C9CE6F9E-C788-4FF4-A02D-FEC53EFF385E
The debate was opened by the MP for Norwich South, Clive Lewis. Henry had a chance to flag up the details of the announcements in particular the increase of £2.6billion for the next financial year; £4.8billion for the following year and £7.1billion in 2022/23. As Henry pointed out: “This certainly is not some “penny packet” measure but a very significant real terms increase.”
Henry said that: “A lot of the “devil will be in the detail” but he was nevertheless very confident this would make a fundamental difference to sorting out the current funding pressures across schools in both Norfolk and North West Norfolk in particular.
Henry went onto say: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister and Chancellor announced that the Government are going to make an extra £4.5billion available outside the education budget to fully fund teachers’ pensions. At the same time, they have announced a starting salary of £30,000 by 2022/23 and this will help make teaching salaries amongst the most competitive in the graduate labour market. These announcements on pension and pay will have a highly beneficial impact on both teacher’s morale and retention.”
Finally, Henry mentioned the particular challenges around special educational needs, and the shortages of trained Special Educational Need Co-ordinators (SENCOs). Henry went on to say: “The £700million earmarked for special needs is obviously welcome as well because this is one area of particular pressure among Norfolk schools. I plan to work closely with the Minister to make sure they now put in place a programme to train up more SENCOs.”
In conclusion Henry said that: “Over the past few years I have received a great deal of constructive feedback from heads and teachers across the constituency and also from Educate Norfolk, which is a group of primary and secondary school headteachers. Time and again, the message has been put to me loud and clear that the funding discrepancies between schools in Norfolk and places in inner London needed to be evened out. In my judgement this recent announcement is going a long way towards securing exactly this. I obviously look forward to working with heads and governors across the constituency to see how the funding announcement is implemented on a school by school basis.”