Today my Cabinet Lead for Education, Claire Hiscott, and I met today with head teachers from secondary and primary schools from across Bristol.
I have made a clear commitment to giving every child the best possible start in life and schools are key to this. So it was essential to hear from them about how they think the city must work to enable our schools to flourish.
Funding is a key issue. That goes without saying. The Government’s National Funding Formula sets out the budgets schools have and in total 92 city schools would lose out financially. The figures show that while support for secondary schools has increased on average by £2,524, primary schools have lost £9,940 on average. We are writing to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, to ask how her commitment to ensuring no Bristol school loses out financially will be made real. We’ll share our approach with the Core Cities network and ask them to join us in lobbying government. Our new MPs will play a key role in ensuring Westminster understands that education is an investment, not a cost.
We must also get the health service in the city working in a more joined up way with schools, especially around mental health. I am going to take this challenge on, working through the Learning City Partnership and the Health and Wellbeing Boards.
We also discussed the need for better internal communications between schools to share support and best practice. At the moment there are pockets of connected schools but the whole city remains fragmented.