Veteran MP warns over Tory rebellion on schools funding formula

Focused middle school students taking examination at desks
Focused middle school students taking examination at desks

A veteran Conservative MP has warned the Education Secretary that plans to change the funding formula for schools will be rejected by Tory MPs.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the proposals would not get through the Commons in their present form, as he urged Justine Greening and the Prime Minister to alter the plans.

It comes amid warnings that the average secondary school in England is facing losses of almost £300,000 amid severe funding cuts.

Primaries could lose out on tens of thousands of pounds, according to a new report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

Cotswolds MP Mr Clifton-Brown led a delegation of nine Conservative MPs in a meeting with the Prime Minister this week.

He said these were "the tip of the iceberg", though, with many more Tory MPs around the country unhappy.

"I think ministers recognise, and indeed I told (Education Secretary) Justine Greening in a later meeting, that this wouldn't go through in its present form," he told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Mr Clifton-Brown said the Government would lose a vote in the Commons on the plans in their current form, adding: "This is only a consultation.

"The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education have indicated very strongly that they are listening to the consultation, they will listen to what responses they get back, and I think knowing that they will have difficulty getting it through the House, they will have to alter it."

He said the new formula "enshrines the current unfairness", and he had never voted against the Conservatives on a major policy in 25 years.

He added that schools in Gloucestershire had "pared everything to the bone" in recent years.

Mr Clifton-Brown said: "Under this new formula, all my large primaries and all of my secondaries will actually see a cash cut in their budgets.

"One teacher put it to me that on this basis, on this so-called new fair funding formula, if nothing is done, if he doesn't make teachers redundant, in three years' time his teacher salary bill will be 105% of his total income, so he has to make teachers redundant.

"The result of that is that courses will be merged and education standards will start to drop."