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Extra £5 million for Worcestershire schools after fairer funding fight
AN EXTRA £5 million is being handed to Worcestershire's schools - as the Government came good on its fairer funding promise.
Education minister David Laws today unveiled a £350 million package for the worst-funded areas of the UK for education, including a slice for this county.
The move, which comes after years of campaigning from parents, schools and MPs, was described as "absolutely brilliant" by head teachers even if there are doubts it will go far enough.
For decades Worcestershire has languished near the bottom of the country's school funding league table, and today stands 145th out of 151.
The £5 million will be handed to Worcestershire County Council as extra funding from April 2015, on top of the amounts already offered.
Areas outside the f40 campaign group, the 40 worst-funded education authorities, will not get any extra cash, with the £350 million aimed at boosting only those at the end of the food chain.
Neil Morris, head at Christopher Whitehead Language College, said: "Any money is great, it's absolutely brilliant.
"Fair play to everyone involved in this, they've finally done it so we're very grateful.
"We're so far behind areas like Birmingham though, I was hoping it'd be a bit more."
Helen Donovan, a mum-of-two from Evesham and f40 member, said: "I'd say thanks very much, but of course we need more - it's a sticking plaster."
The £5 million will be put through an in-house funding formula at County Hall and handed out to secondaries and primaries.
At the moment pupils in Worcestershire get an average of £5,100 per head, £1,333 below those in Birmingham.
Councillor Liz Eyre, the county council's cabinet member for children and families said: "This is really good news for Worcestershire.
"It’s a good step towards a fairer funding process for schools.
"We always appreciated that step would be incremental and could not happen overnight."
Worcester MP Robin Walker, who has led the campaigning on it since being elected in 2010, said: "Getting £5 million extra for local schools within the lifetime of this Government is a huge step forward, but it isn’t the end of the campaign.
"Worcestershire schools have a lot more to look forward to as the Government introduces fairer funding.
"For years we have been winning the argument but it has taken a long time to translate words into pounds and pence."
Harriett Baldwin MP, who represents West Worcestershire said: "I have campaigned on this issue on behalf of local schools for many years.
"There is still work to be done to move towards a more even national approach but this is a great first step to bring equality to our local schools."
Worcestershire has 197 maintained schools and 43 academies.
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