Government FINALLY tells schools in East Cambs and Fenland 'you're under funded' and pledges £6 million extra to spend over next three years

PUBLISHED: 23:59 17 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:04 18 January 2017

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education

Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education

Archant

Schools across Fenland and East Cambridgeshire will share £6 million of new Government funding - separate to any other income streams- to spend between now and 2020.

Steve Barclay MP visits Orchard Primary School, Wisbech for a chat with the school councilSteve Barclay MP visits Orchard Primary School, Wisbech for a chat with the school council

Additionally local schools will be able to draw on additional money to have their own research school to help lead development and share best practice.

And by designating Fenland and East Cambs as areas of high priority, the Government will make money available for mentoring and career advice.

MP Steve Barclay said last night: “Quite simply put, this is the best day of my six years in Parliament.”

The extra money was made available after Education Secretary Justine Greening announced six further ‘opportunity areas’ across England to target obstacles to social mobility.

Last October she announced that Norwich and Blackpool would be included in the first batch of six and become part of cash backed drive to help young people to reach their potential.

Now, in a surprise move, she has added Fenland and East Cambs to that list.

Mr Barclay said that on the day the Department for Education announced those first areas he took a call from Brooke Weston Trust, who manage the Thomas Clarkson Academy at Wisbech; they were disappointed at Fenland’s exclusion from the list.

Mr Barclay said: “I immediately contacted the Schools Minister Nick Gibb to ask for an explanation, speaking later that day to his official with responsibility for the social mobility programme.

“Four places were still to be allocated, and I felt it important that Fenland and East Cambs should be more actively considered.

“As an office my team and I then set about an intense week of research, contacting local schools, Fenland District Council, and Cambridgeshire County Council for social economic data to support our pitch for inclusion.”

The following week he presented his case to Mr Gibb “setting out comparative data between Fenland and Norwich and explained why we should be included in the remaining four.”

Mr Gibb went away to consider it – later discussing it with the Secretary of State- and “today it is clear they have listened and responded positively”.

The NE Cambs MP said: “If Brookes Weston had not flagged this, if we had not worked collaboratively locally to pull a case together, and if we had not made the pitch effectively, Fenland and East Cambs would no doubt have missed out.

“We have great talent and potential amongst the students in our schools which I see on a regular basis. This money will mean Fenland and East Cambs are now at the heart of the Department for Education’s flagship programme, and will have priority when bidding for other schemes in the future.”

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