6. What progress her Department is making on the proposed national funding formula for schools. 
Our proposals for funding reform mean that schools and local authority areas would, for the first time, receive a consistent and fair share of the schools budget, so that they can give every child the opportunity to reach their full potential. The consultation on the second stage runs until 22 March. In Gloucestershire, funding would rise from £331.5 million to £334 million because of the national funding formula, on the basis of the 2016-17 figures, which is a rise of 0.8%.
My right hon. Friend is well aware that Gloucestershire has suffered for years under the current system; there is a 61% disparity between the top-funded primary schools and the bottom-funded primary schools. Will he look carefully at the unfair proposals he has brought forward in the funding formula, because they double-count items such as deprivation, low attainment and English as a first language, and it is not fair on rural schools?
I have listened very carefully to the representations my hon. Friend makes, both today and in the various meetings we have held. The Government’s proposals for funding reform seek to balance carefully the differing needs of rural and urban schools. Schools in the historically lowest-funded areas would gain, on average, about 3.6% under the national funding formula; 676 small and remote rural schools would also benefit from sparsity funding for the first time; and, nationally, small rural schools, as a group, would gain 1.3% on average, with primary schools in sparse areas gaining some 5.3% on average. In his constituency, 64% of the schools would gain funding under the proposals, based on applying the formula to the current year’s figures.
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