‘Boundary changes highlight school funding inequality’ – South Cambs school principal speaks out over proposals to move Melbourn, Bassingbourn and The Mordens to North East Herts’ constituency

Simon Holmes.

Simon Holmes. - Credit: Archant

The principal of a South Cambs school two miles from the county border has spoken out over proposed electoral boundary changes – in which, if they went ahead, Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Guilden Morden and Steeple Morden would become part of the North East Herts parliamentary constituency.

Head of Melbourn Village College Simon Holmes says the proposals by the Boundary Commission highlight school funding inequalities.

Herts currently receives an additional £130 per student compared to Cambs, a figure which amounts to around £65,000 per year for Melbourn Village College, “How could one MP successfully represent schools receiving such different funding? How could they accurately campaign on our behalf?” said Mr Holmes.

“Our Progress 8 score was 0.45 – pupils here did half a grade per GCSE better than students nationally, placing in the top nine per cent of schools in the country.

“Just imagine what we could do with an additional £200,000. If this inequality continues, there will inevitably be an impact despite our best efforts. It can’t be fair on children in Cambridgeshire.

“Schools in South Cambs have a strong history of working together and changing constituency would put a strain on these relationships based within local authorities.

“One MP would find themselves working with two county councils, a clear increase in workload and a recipe for confusion and delay.”

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North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald said: “I have co-operated closely with Cambs MPs on a range of issues such as transport and NHS funding. When it comes to education, I see no difficulty in standing up for constituents in Cambs, I would argue for improvements for all my constituents. I have been a strong supporter of the Rural Fair Share campaign to address the disparity in funding between rural and semi-rural areas like ours and the cities.

“Many students from Royston, North East Herts and the Cambridgeshire villages use educational facilities in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire to meet their needs.”

South Cambs MP Heidi Allen has spoken of her disappointment at the proposals.

“I strongly object to Bassingbourn, the Mordens and Melbourn moving from South Cambs to North East Herts,” she said. “I want constituents have their say. I don’t want to lose you!” The consultation period ends on Monday. Go to bce2018.org.uk to submit your views.