Education fair funding campaign group f40 has welcomed the appointment of former teacher and school campaigner Emma Hardy MP as its new Labour Vice Chair.
With vast experience in the education sector, Ms Hardy is eager to throw her support behind the f40 campaign for increased and fairer school funding, including around Special Educational Needs.
Ms Hardy spent 11 years as a primary school teacher before leaving to campaign for better education funding with the National Union of Teachers. She then went on to become MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle.
A mother to two daughters, Ms Hardy believes all children should receive a quality education and equal access to resources and funding, regardless of where they live.
Alongside Conservative Vice Chair Sir Gary Streeter MP and Liberal Democratic Vice Chair Layla Moran MP, Ms Hardy will play a leading role on f40’s behalf in Parliament, helping to coordinate activities among MPs who represent f40 local authority members, and in raising issues around education funding in the House of Commons.
Ms Hardy said: “I believe every child has the right to a rich, high-quality education, regardless of where they live. I am committed to seeing that right reflected in fair and equitable funding across the country, and with that aim I am delighted to be able to give my support to f40 as the new Labour Vice Chair.”
f40 Chair Cllr Alex Dale, who is also Cabinet Member for Education at Derbyshire County Council, welcomed Ms Hardy as Labour Vice Chair and to the f40 Executive Committee.
“Emma’s commitment to the education of young people, from teaching, to campaigning for increased funding, and then as a Member of Parliament, is impressive and we know her experience and expertise will help bolster f40’s activities,” said Cllr Dale.
“In real terms, the funding provided to education has steadily fallen since 2010 while the demands on schools have increased. They are expected to do far more with stretched budgets, particularly around SEND, and some schools continue to receive far less than others, which is wrong.
“We’re looking forward to working with our three Vice Chairs during 2022 to help schools gain the funding and support they vitally need.”
Cllr Dale said f40 wished to see all schools funded equally. Cllr Dale said schools should receive sufficient core funding to enable them to provide a high-quality education before funding is added on for deprivation and specific school and area costs.
Until this happens, f40 believes historically under-funded schools will not receive the funding they need, or which was intended through the National Funding Formula. It argues that education funding is a postcode lottery, which remains unresolved in current government proposals for further funding reform.
While Government has recognised the unfairness and is attempting to level up – without reducing the funding provided to the better off schools – progress is extremely slow. At the current pace, it will take 15-20 years for the gap in funding to close – impacting on the education of more than a whole generation of children.
Cllr Dale said f40 does not wish to see money taken away from the better funded areas, but it does wish to see more provided to the poorly funded schools that are currently struggling to make ends meet.