It’s that time of year again when the suitcases are swapped for pencil cases, and the sandy beaches are traded in for the school run, as our children head back to school for a new academic year.
The good news for our local schools this year is that school funding in South Gloucestershire is set for a record boost and will be increased to the highest ever level.
The Government have also released some figures which show that South Gloucestershire schools are due a significant funding boost for the 2024-25 academic year, with school funding reaching almost £60 billion, and here in the Thornbury and Yate constituency, record funding will reach £61,381,240.
For local secondary schools such as Brimsham Green, Castle School, and Yate Academy, the change in total funding will see increases of 11.2%, 6.9%, and 4.6% respectively. Meanwhile, the per pupil funding for our rural primary schools will also see increases, including schools such as Cromhall Primary (+10.5%), Iron Acton CofE (+6.5%), Charfield Primary (+3.8%), Hawkesbury Primary (+3.5%), The Ridge Primary (+3.3%), and Watermore Primary (+2.8%).
Ensuring South Gloucestershire schools receive their fair share of funding has long been a priority in my Positive Plan for Education, which I have raised with Government Ministers time and time again.
Significant rises in high needs funding have also been allocated. Funding for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities here in South Gloucestershire, we will receive a record amount £51,230,394 for high needs – although of course there is more to do.
This news follows work which is currently underway on the Two Bridges SEND Academy, which is set to open in September 2024. The Special Needs school will offer 112 spaces for pupils from nursery age to sixth form and will provide specialist support for children with autism and severe, or multiple learning difficulties. Nationally, there have been further positive announcements regarding schools. 88% of schools in England are ranked as good or outstanding, we have seen significant rises up the international league tables in reading and maths as a result of focused and evidence-based reforms. In England, there are also now 27,000 more teachers than there were in 2010.
Around 12,000 young people in England will also benefit from a wave of new free schools, which includes Cabot Sixth Form, a 16-19 school set to open in our area in the next 3-4 years. Free schools are funded by the Government, however are run by other organisations such as academy trusts and universities.
We are incredibly lucky to have so many amazing schools in our area, and my thanks to all our local Headteachers, teachers and support staff for all they do. I would like to congratulate all those students who received their results over the Summer, and the best of luck to everyone ahead of the new school year.