One of the many attractions of our area is the high quality of our local schools. There are 40 maintained schools in the Horsham constituency and I am delighted that due to the hard work of heads, staff and governors all but one of these schools rated by Ofsted is either “Good” or “Outstanding”.
Difficult choices are being made right now in many homes as parents and pupils decide on their best options for secondary education.
This year’s process will I hope be much less complicated than the last and parents are more aware of the places being provided at the new secondary school in Horsham, the funding for which I was delighted to have helped secure. Having met teachers at their temporary but well equipped school in Hurst Road I have no doubt that Bohunt will be providing an excellent education alongside the highly regarded Forest, Millais, Tanbridge and Weald within the constituency and denominational secondary schools in neighbouring areas.
I am also delighted that as we have finally managed to get our national finances under control there is room to do more to support our local schools through increased funding – which has long been a personal priority.
I don’t know of any head locally that disputes the idea that “fair funding” must allocate extra resources to pupils for whom English is a second language, who come from socially deprived backgrounds or who have low prior attainment. However given local demographics that is always likely to mean per pupil funding locally will be lower than in more deprived areas of the country. It is therefore particularly important that we have a strong per pupil funding base line. This is a principle on which there is wide local support and for which I campaigned successfully both publicly through PMQs and in meetings with Ministers.
I am pleased that this principle is being reinforced by the Government with significant improvements in the base line per pupil funding alongside steps to address specific cost pressures. I expect this to result in a good improvement for over half our local schools. I am delighted by this positive news and look forward to analysing the details which are expected later this month.
Photo Credit: Last Friday many organisations locally put on fabulous coffee mornings to raise funds for Macmillan - the Friends of Chesworth Farm were among them - a very pleasant surprise for passing walkers!