1. ITV Report

Education Select Committee chair: the funding formula 'could be fairer'

The Chair of the Education Select committee has criticised his own funding formula claiming "it could be fairer".

The Stroud MP Neil Carmichael says that education funding in Gloucestershire won't significantly increase under Government plans to make cash for schools fairer.

But, Gloucestershire is one of the 40 local education authorities who receive the least amount of money for schools.

There are many claims that any schools are being shortchanged despite the introduction of what was meant to be a fairer deal.

He was making those comments in an interview for tonight's West Country Debate, presented by David Wood.

Our guests ready to debate the issues affecting the West Country in February's West Country Debate

It's an issue that's been angering many of our Devon MPs as well, they have been campaigning over the last month, complaining the government simply isn't giving the county's schools enough money.

They claim Devon's schools haven't had the money they deserve.

  • So just what is the fair funding formula? Our education correspondent Richard Payne takes a look at the issue:

The issue has come to prominence in recent weeks as a Government consultation on its fairer funding formula for schools begins.

They are trying to reallocate money, so each pupil will have the same amount of money spent on them throughout their school years.

It was an issue that our guests all seemed to agree on.

It's teachers that make our education system, better and more teachers. Class sizes are rising and that's not good.

– Judith Jolly, Liberal Democrat Peer and former teacher

Bristol has been hit by a number of things all at the same time. We do have to think what do we want the outcomes of these children to be? In the light of Brexit we need people with higher skills and a better education.

My question to the Department of Education and the Government is, if you don't know what the outcomes are on children, if you can't answer this question why are you taking 3 billion pounds out of the education budget?

– Karin Smyth, MP Bristol South

This is a consultation period, my schools have met with the government to discuss some issues they've got as it's not as fair as it could be.

The important thing is it's making it fairer, and I don't think it's fair that children that live down the road in Bristol should be receiving up to £2,000 more a head than children in my schools.

– Michelle Donelan MP, Chippenham

The Government say it is an election manifesto promise to make the funding for education authorities much fairer. Some have received more money - per head per pupil that they have to look after - in recent years than others.

They added that no school that is due to lose money will lose anymore than 3%, and they'll also have advice on how to make budget cuts so it won't affect front line services - such as teachers, books, equipment,

The measure is currently in a consultation phase, which has been extended until the end of March as so many people are getting involved.

Also in the show, we asked why three of our region's Labour MPs voted against Article 50 even though the UK population voted to leave the EU.

Watch the full programme below: