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Farron hails important funding success for local schools

June 4, 2013 1:16 PM

Tim in WestminsterSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that the Government have listened to his campaign to fix the funding formula for rural schools and has hailed today's ministerial statement as a 'major success' for schools across the South Lakes.

Some of Cumbria's most valued small rural schools recently faced threat of future closures after the Department for Education proposed to shake up the funding system, which sparked a massive outcry among the county's head teachers, staff, unions and parents. The formula would also have penalised many of our larger schools in order to attempt to bridge the gap.

In efforts to prevent the horrendous impact this would have had on our local schools, where schools are often the heart of the community, Tim intervened and persuaded Liberal Democrat Education Minister David Laws, to step in and use Cumbria as a case study on which to base a review of the funding for rural schools.

Following months of campaigning by Tim on this issue a Written Ministerial Statement put before the House of Commons this morning acknowledged that the "there was concern about the ability of local authorities to support small schools in rural areas".

The statement went on to highlight two important changes that will be made to the funding formula in light of the review that Tim secured. The first will enable local authorities to provide additional funding for schools in sparsely populated areas and the second will introduce new flexibilities to provide different amounts of funding to cover the fixed costs of primary and secondary schools.

Commenting on this announcement Tim said: "Today's announcement is a fantastic win for everyone in Cumbria who supported the campaign to secure a more appropriate funding formula for rural schools. I am very grateful to David Laws for listening to our voices and for using Cumbria as a case study through which to review the harsh realities that the original proposals would have inflicted on rural schools.

"Rural schools are at the heart of our communities and that is where they need to remain and parents, staff and students should have the confidence that the funding formula recognises this, and that their schools will be protected for the long term."