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Tue, 20 October 2020

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Boris Johnson promises major school funding boost if he wins Tory leadership race

Boris Johnson promises major school funding boost if he wins Tory leadership race
3 min read

Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to spend at least £5,000 on every secondary school pupil if he wins the race to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader.

In his first domestic policy pledge in the campaign for the Tory crown, the ex-Foreign Secretary vowed to plug the "yawning funding gap" between pupils in London and the rest of England in a bid to "level up" the country's education system.

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Johnson declared: "It is simply not sustainable that funding per pupil should be £6,800 in parts of London and £4,200 in some other parts of the country.

"Of course there are special and extra costs of living in the capital, and London schools deserve that recognition. But I pledge to reverse the cuts in per pupil funding, so that thousands of schools get much more per pupil."

According to The Telegraph, Mr Johnson wants every secondary school in England to spend at least £5,000 per pupil.

The Government's current national funding formula for schools aims to allocate a minimum of £4,800 per pupil in English secondary schools by 2019-20 - £200 less than the amount pledged by Mr Johnson.

The bookies' favourite to succeed Theresa May said: "This country is like a giant that is managing heroically to hop on one leg.

"If we fund our schools properly, if we pay sufficient attention both to vocational training as well as to mathematics and languages, then we will loosen the shackle that is holding us back."

Mr Johnson also hinted that he could compel pupils to continue learning maths beyond the age of 16.

"We are unlike many other competitor economies in allowing students to drop maths at 16, even though numeracy is integral to tech, IT, and so many sectors in which the UK leads the world," he said.

"Again, we find ourselves importing software engineers to make up for the deficiencies in our own output. If we can level up, if we can find the potential for excellence that exists in every school in the country, then we can double or treble the range and inventiveness of the UK."

Mr Johnson's campaign received a boost at the weekend as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss and Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng threw their weight behind his bid to lead the Conservatives.

US President Donald Trump - who jets into the UK for a three-day trip on Monday - meanwhile said he believed Mr Johnson would make an "excellent" prime minister.


The former Cabinet minister's funding pledge came as fellow Conservative leadership contender Matt Hancock outlined his own plan to loosen immigration restrictions on medics in a bid to boost NHS staffing after Brexit.

In a speech, the Health Secretary will vow to ditch all immigration restrictions for qualified doctors and nurses from around the world provided they have a job offer in the health service.

According to extracts of the speech seen by The Guardian, Mr Hancock will say: “Our NHS could not provide its world-class service to patients without the hardworking doctors and nurses from other nations.

"That’s why I believe, after Brexit, we need to see the free movement of medics – doctors and nurses – from all around the world."

The two men are among the 13 candidates now duking it out to succeed Theresa May when she formally triggers the Tory leadership contest by resigning as party leader on Friday.


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