Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
Will the hon. Lady confirm that Nottingham schools have failed for decades under Labour-run councils?
Secondary schools in my constituency are not the responsibility of Nottingham City Council; they are academies, and sadly some of them are still not improving. We already face intense funding pressures. The Institute for Fiscal Studies tells us that all schools face an 8% real-terms cut to their budgets as a result of higher national insurance contributions, increases in employer pension contributions and unfunded national pay rises. The National Audit Office has provided evidence of growing financial pressures, particularly in secondary schools: 59% of maintained schools and 61% of academies were in deficit last year.
The NAO also concluded that the Department’s approach meant that schools
“could make spending choices that put educational outcomes at risk.
Local headteachers have told me what that will mean: fewer teachers, less pastoral support, bigger classes, more contact time for teachers, less choice at key stages 4 and 5. The added enrichment—the breakfast clubs, the school trips, the reading sessions for parents, the extra-curricular sports, culture and arts activities—will be the first to go, yet these are the very things that can make all the difference to children growing up in poverty.