A new academic year will soon be starting. Most of us recognise that education is a great opportunity to be cherished and that giving children the best possible start in life bodes well for all our futures.
Our Conservative government has been determined to strengthen education since coming to office in 2010. We now have 88% of children attending a school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, which is up from 68% of children back in 2010. It’s pleasing that we’ve seen improvements in Ofsted ratings in many schools in Crawley. This is all great progress but there is still more to do and having every child attending a good or outstanding school is what we want.
It is good news all round that as we start the new academic year, there is no longer any prospect of industrial action taking place in schools, with the four unions involved having accepted the 6.5% pay rise offer.
Every child deserves the opportunity to maximise their potential, no matter what their educational needs are. The government have announced plans to create over a thousand new school places for children with special educational needs, with £70 million to help open seven new special Free Schools as part of a programme to test and refine SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) reforms so that they are informed by the experiences of families.
Once complete, these reforms will more than double the number of special Free School places available across the country, from around 8,500 to 19,000, helping to ensure that every child receives a quality education tailored to their individual needs.
School budgets can come under pressure as costs have risen, but it is noteworthy that the Conservative government is investing an extra £2 billion in school funding this year and next, helping schools and colleges to deliver the best education possible. 2024–25 will be the highest spending year in history for schools with a total school’s budget of £58.8 billion. This will fulfil the pledge to restore per pupil funding to record levels, with real term per pupil funding above 2010 levels.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
30th August 2023