Cumbrian children will benefit from increased schools funding, claims Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. Mr Williamson visited Wreay Church of England Primary School, near Carlisle, yesterday and saw children perform a song from the musical Matilda.

He also spoke to staff about the funding increase which was announced by the government last month. This will see schools in England receive an additional £2.6bn next year, an extra £4.8bn the year after that and another £7.1bn in 2022-23. This amounts to an extra £14.4bn over three years: a five per cent increase.

In some parts of the country the increase will be more and in some areas less, because of factors including existing funding and deprivation levels. Mr Williamson told the News & Star: “From next year we’ll set a minimum spend for secondary schools of £5,000 per pupil and a minimum of £3,700 per primary school pupil. The thing that makes the biggest difference to children’s education is the quality of teaching. That’s why so much money has been dedicated to training the very best teachers. We’re raising teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000. That’s one of the highest graduate salaries in the country.

“There is extra money to help those schools that are consistently underperforming. Get the best multi-academy trusts to go into those schools and turn them around. We want to make sure opportunities are there for every child. It’s about raising standards at every school.”

In recent years numerous schools have claimed that staff and parents have had to pay for equipment. Mr Williamson said: “We’ve seen education spending increase every year since 2010. What we’ve seen over the last nine years is attainment in schools going up, rigour of exams going up. Every teaching union has welcomed this latest increase in funding.”

Graham Frost is headteacher at Carlisle’s Robert Ferguson Primary School, and Cumbria secretary of the NAHT teachers’ union. He said: “For years we’ve been campaigning for schools to be properly funded in the face of markedly increased costs. We’ve had these big spending increases bandied about from the government with no real clarity on whether it will be evenly distributed or targeted for electoral advantage. While we have been feeling vindicated that our campaigning has resulted in an acknowledgement that more needs to be done, at the moment it does smack of electioneering. That causes us to be a little bit cautious.”