Content from Dr Dan Poulter MP 01 February 2021
Having been contacted by a number of parents and schools concerned about the disparity of higher needs education funding here in Suffolk compared to our neighbouring counties, I have urged the Education Secretary to urgently review Suffolk’s funding allocation and to level up education funding for our children and young people.
I share the concerns of parents and schools and I am growing increasingly concerned that without a meaningful injection of cash, many of Suffolk’s children risk losing out on their fair share. We already know that Suffolk is facing a substantial increase in the number of children and young people in need of additional support, yet rates for special school places in the county are significantly below those of our neighbours.
Suffolk children and Suffolk schools deserve better and at the very least, a level playing field. The current funding allocation is not right and nor is it fair and this is why I have written to the Secretary of State setting out the case for Suffolk and requesting that his Department levels up Suffolk’s SEND funding to secure a fairer future for our brilliant children and young people.
Although our schools currently remain closed under the current restrictions, I have been heartened to hear of the innovative examples of home learning, both from parents and our teachers. That said, home learning cannot take the place of being in class for face to face teaching and I remain hopeful that our schools can begin to return in early March.
Ahead of our schools returning, the Government continues to make great progress with the vaccination programme and I am continuing to press the case with the Vaccination Minister and local health leaders to make sure that Suffolk residents are invited to receive their vaccine just as soon as is practicably possible.
As more and more of us receive the vaccine, light is very definitely at the end of the tunnel with many millions of people having being vaccinated across the country. This is a fantastic achievement and my thanks go to all who have been involved in co-ordinating the herculean effort of rolling out the vaccination programme.
We still have some way to go and cannot rest on our laurels, so it remains vital that we all continue to play our part in helping to stop the spread of COVID. We mustn’t drop our guard now when we have come so far and the end goal is in sight. The single most important action we can all take is to follow the guidance to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.