The Liberal Democrat Minister for Schools has asked his civil servants to look at the funding formula for schools in Solihull following a meeting with local campaigners.
Schools Minister David Laws was responding to proposals from Professor Derek Sheldon, Chair of Solihull Schools Forum.
Solihull schools currently receive £981 a year less* per pupil than schools in Birmingham. But 6,000 pupils living in Birmingham attend Solihull schools, while just 200 pupils living in Solihull attend Birmingham schools.
Professor Sheldon believes pupils living in Birmingham should attract the same amount of funding whether they go to school in Birmingham or Solihull. He put his proposals to Mr Laws in a meeting at the Department of Education organised by local MP Lorely Burt.
Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, Solihull councillors Joe Tildesley and Norman Davies, Solihull Council’s Learning & Achievement Service Director Chris Palmer, and the Head Teacher of Langley Primary School, Mark Mitchell, were also there.
Professor Derek Sheldon said,
“It was a very constructive meeting in which the Minister for Schools appeared to take on board our arguments related to the special case in Solihull schools where we are at a funding disadvantage compared with schools in Birmingham and Coventry.
“Our Forum members were much encouraged by the tenor of the meeting and the continued strong support of both local MPs Lorely Burt and Caroline Spelman prior to and at the meeting.”
Mrs Burt said,
“I was very grateful to Derek and the others for coming all the way to London to put these very sensible proposals to a senior Lib Dem Minister. I’m also grateful to David for promising to look into Derek’s suggestions.
“Our teachers in Solihull do a great job but it can’t be right to ask them to do it on a tighter budget than elsewhere while facing much the same pressures.
“If they’re going to be teaching kids from Birmingham they should get the same money as schools in Birmingham.”
* Solihull schools get £4,237 a year per pupil while Birmingham schools get £5,218.
Photograph of (left to right): Schools Minister David Laws, a Department of Education civil servant, Lorely Burt MP, Langley Primary School Head Teacher Mark Mitchell