School funding branded a 'disgrace'

GOVERNMENT funding for schools in Suffolk has been branded a “disgrace” after new figures released today show it gets the least money in the East of England.

GOVERNMENT funding for schools in Suffolk has been branded a “disgrace” after new figures released today show it gets the least money in the East of England.

Of the 149 Local Education Authorities in England, Suffolk comes 134th in the funding table - just 15 places from the bottom.

The county's allocation of £3,591.24 per pupil for the 2007/08 academic year is lower than Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

David Ruffley, MP for West Suffolk, uncovered the figures.

He said: “These new House of Commons figures are an absolute disgrace.

“It seems quite ridiculous to me that all the other counties in the East of England receive a higher level of funding for their schools. “To my mind there is absolutely no justification why similar, neighbouring counties should receive more while we in Suffolk are short-changed.

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“I intend to take this matter up with the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, and demand an answer to why his government continues to show such scant regard for the population of Suffolk.”

The funding has also disappointed Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council.

He said: “Whilst I recognise that the government has, nationally, put more money in to education, there is no doubt that Suffolk has fared particularly badly.

“They seem to think that the only places suffering deprivation are in urban areas and inner cities.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills said the government distributes funding according to the needs of schools and pupils in each area.

He said: “The school funding settlement for the next two years is a good one for all authorities and their schools, with a national average increase 6.8 per cent per pupil next year and a further increase of 6.7pc for 2007-08.

“The settlement gives schools everywhere the secure and predictable base they need to deliver a wider and more personalised service to all their pupils."

Do you think the funding allocation is fair? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk>

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