t: 01993 225020
e: robert@robertcourts.co.uk

I campaigned on delivering outstanding education for all.  Education is one the most important parts of our children's upbringing.  With a mother who worked as a primary school teacher, a wife who is a governor at the local Primary School and my young baby son, this is a fact that is never far from my mind.

I am committed to ensuring that all children in West Oxfordshire have access to an excellent education that unlocks their potential and creates opportunity.

I fully agree with the principle behind the Government's proposals which aims to ensure ensure that every school and local area, regardless of location, are fairly funded according to need.  However, due to the nature, of the area we live in, I am concerned about the impact this will have on West Oxfordshire's schools.

I have therefore been strongly lobbying for the creation of an essential funding level that will ensure all schools have the essential funding they need.  All schools regardless of location, have these essential costs need they need funding for, regardless of location and number of pupils.

The formula would mean that those with the highest need will get the most funding and ensures that all children get access to the education they deserve.  A single national funding formula for schools will remove the role of the local authority, with funding going straight to the frontline, giving headteachers more certainty over budgets.

Under the current proposals, around half the schools in West Oxfordshire would see their funding reduced, and the other half would see it increase or stay the same.  The proposals also include a measure which would mean that the maximum funding decrease a school can face as a result of the new formula is capped at 3% per pupil.

As West Oxfordshire is fortunate to be a relatively affluent area with low levels of deprivation, its level of funding is impacted.  The area is most impacted by many of our village schools not being rural enough to qualify for sparsity funding.  All of these factors receive a certain weighting in the formula.

I invite all interested parties to respond to the consultation on the Schools National Funding Formula here.  This closed on 22nd March 2017.

18 MAY 2017

Conservative Manifesto pledges to ensure no school will have its budget cut as a result of the funding formula

Today the Conservative manifesto has been released which states that no school will have its budget cut as a result of the new National Schools funding formula.  They have also pledged to increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion in real terms by 2022.

This is great news and I am glad that the Government has listened to the lobbying of myself and colleagues.  Should I be re-elected, I look forward to ensuring that this is fully implemented.

29 MAR 2017

Fair Funding Consultation Response

Last week I submitted my response to the Schools National Funding Formula Phase 2 public consultation to the Secretary of State for Education.

In my response I expressed my concern at the effect the proposals would have on a number of local schools, and made clear the need to ensure all schools in West Oxfordshire receive the funding they need.

You can read my full letter to the Secretary of State here.

16 MAR 2017

MP: Ensure rural schools receive essential funding

The Oxfordshire Guardian wrote about my work on this issue in their edition published Thursday 16th March 2017.

Read this article in full here.

06 MAR 2017

Robert Courts MP meet with Schools Minister

I have met with the Minsiter for Schools, Nick Gibb, to discuss the impact of the funding formula on West Oxfordshire schools.

I pressed upon the Minister the need for all West Oxfordshire schools to have the funding they need, particularly those in rural areas which might be most seriously affected.

I was given a detailed explanation as to how the model was produced and I discussed options with the Minister which might help local schools, including my idea of an essential funding level that will ensure schools have the key funding that they need.

23 FEB 2017

Robert Courts MP writes to all headteachers in West Oxfordshire

I have today written to every primary and secondary school in West Oxfordshire to discuss the Schools National Funding Formula.

I want to know the concerns and the opinions of all the headteachers, as those who will be greatly affected by these decisions.

I have pledged to champion their opinions when lobbying the Government and I will continue a dialogue with them as this matter develops.

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