In December last year the coalition government announced that Cornish schools would receive less than half the funding than schools in the City of London. ‘Guaranteed Units of Funding’ (GUF) for Cornwall amounts to just £4663 per pupil while the figure for London is £9373.
At the same time, new legislation encourages schools to convert to ‘Academies’ and to opt out of funding by Local Authorities in favour of receiving centralised funding from Westminster.
Despite attempts by the Conservative leader to prevent it, Mebyon Kernow leader, Dick Cole, gained the support of Cornwall Council in calling for a commission to investigate fairer funding for Cornwall.
Coalition policies mean that the very nature of our smaller schools in Cornwall puts our children at an unfair disadvantage. This is because as well as being short-changed with their funding, the new academy system means that there is less money available to Cornish councillors to provide support for the smaller schools. There is a very real risk that many community based schools will be forced to close – children as young as five years old could be forced to make bus journeys just to get to school.
Cornwall needs politicians who understand Cornwall’s unique challenges and who are prepared to put Cornwall first.