Imran and Judith Cummins MP, have today celebrated Bradford Council’s success in securing £23 million from the Government to address the District’s school places shortage.
The announcement of £23 million for 2018-19 provided by the Department for Education to Bradford Council as part of Basic Needs Funding is to ensure that there are enough school places for children in the local area, and it follows months of campaigning on the issue by both Bradford Council and Bradford’s MPs.
Although Bradford has faced a severe shortage of school places for several years with a number of schools with enlarged class sizes as a result, the Government awarded just over £700,000 for 2017-18, a figure that was over 13 times less than the previous year of £9.5 million.
Imran has also recently welcomed the announcement made in the Budget relating to the Northern Schools Strategy, declaring it a step in the right direction for his Bradford Challenge campaign that has the potential to radically improve education in the District, whilst cautioning against the increased academisation.
Speaking on the funding announcement, Imran said:
“This is excellent news, and after months of campaigning and pressuring the Department for Education to recognise the need for greater funding in order to tackle the growing school places crisis, I am glad that the Council’s efforts have borne fruit in achieving this extraordinary result.
“Bradford’s schools are beginning to turn themselves around, and with the announcement of a Northern Schools Strategy in the Budget, I am hopeful that the Government will, like with this funding pledge, continue to listen to the argument that I, other Bradford MPs, and the Council are making on education in the District.
“However as is often the case, the devil is in the detail, and when I meet with the Minister for Schools in the next few weeks, details of the funding along with how it will work with their recently announced and unneeded plans for academisation will be included in my growing list of points to raise.
“To continue to tackle the problems facing education in Bradford, the Government also need to focus on the recruitment and retention of teachers - a problem which is still blighting the education sector - to ensure that there are enough well-trained teachers able to handle an increase in classes.”
Also speaking on the announcement, Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South said:
“This is great news for our young people in Bradford and a victory for the whole community. Bradford MPs and local councillors have been tirelessly lobbying the government and that hard work is beginning to pay off. Today we've got 23 million reasons to celebrate.
“I raised the urgent need for increased funding when I met with Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan and the Regional Schools Commissioner and so I'm really pleased that the Government is finally beginning to listen and is putting their money where their mouth is.
“I hope this will go some way to tackle the backlog of school repairs and fund the necessary capital investment to deliver much needed extra school places in Bradford.
“I have consistently called for a dedicated resource to address under-performance in Bradford schools and so I cautiously welcome the news that Sir Nick Weller is to help coordinate driving up standards in northern schools. The devil of course will be in the detail.”