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I am passionate about education it really can transform lives and create opportunities.
That is why I have campaigned for more money for our schools for years – even before I was an MP and years before I had the privilege of being appointed as an education Minister. I have listened to parents and teachers and the key reason I have pushed on this is because I really do believe that education can act as the ‘door’ to opportunities and that it is my job as your local MP to ‘unlock that door.’ In fact this was the subject of my first ever speech in Parliament.
We used an outdated school funding formula for too long in the UK and so areas like Wiltshire did not get their fair share which let down our young people. We now have a fairer national funding formula and have put more money into the pot as well. I was so delighted when the government recently announced an extra £14 billion into our schools over three years. We have subsequently learnt that this will mean schools in Wiltshire will get 5.3% more per pupil next year, a total of £15.5m of additional funding (subject to changes in pupil numbers). This will make a big difference.
In Wiltshire all primary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £3,750 next year. In addition, all secondary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £5,000 next year. This will ensure we have the funds necessary to ‘open the doors’ for all your children and retain the level of quality that we have in our local education system.
A topic many parents have raised with me is the ability and resource to meet the growing needs of SEND children. The provisional allocation of high needs funding (which includes SEND) is £51.3m for Wiltshire next year which is 8.2% per head more than this year. This will reduce pressures but the answer is not just money alone, so we are conducting a thorough review into our SEND provision. As the Minister responsible for this area I want to ensure that the system is geared up to achieve the best outcomes for SEND children and is working for them.
I have been out and about around the constituency recently but given the importance of this additional money into education I wanted to use this space to highlight it. If you want to stay up to date with my work you can sign up to my e news https://michelledonelan.co.uk/subscribe/
PS I am organising a ‘curry fundraiser’ on Sunday 3rd November for Wiltshire Mind at The Raj, Chippenham. Wiltshire Mind is a local independent mental health charity based in Melksham. They are a voluntary organisation affiliated to Mind and do such amazing work supporting people across the county. Tickets cost £20 for a drink plus 4 curries, naan and rice between 2. To buy your tickets use www.paypal.me/ pools/ c/8j9rrcAhe8email or email events@michelledonelan. com or call 01249 704 465.