Hilsea Councillor’s and the Shadow Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education were pleased to receive the Minister for School Standards, The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP to Gatcombe Park Primary School today to welcome back pupils for the new academic year.
Local Hilsea councillors and Education spokesperson were treated to a guided tour of the school by the Deputy Head, Mrs Ogles who was keen to show off the various displays the children were working on as well as discuss the areas the school excels in.
During the visit, Mrs Ogles revealed that Gatcombe Park hold their own elections for student council and Cllr Payter-Harris was happy to extend an invitation to the Lord Mayor to help facilitate these elections at a later date.
In addition, Minister Gibb reported the core funding boost for schools through the National Funding Formula.
Every pupil is set to benefit from the largest funding increase in a decade as part of the £14.4bn increase announced by the Government. This will mean a £4.8 billion increase to school funding in the next academic year, and £7.1 billion in 2022-23. This is in addition to the three major interventions made to support education recovery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – over £3 billion in total.
Minister Gibb also confirmed increased school core funding rates from 2022-23, primary schools will attract an average of £4,800 per pupil, an average increase of £120.
Councillor Terry Norton said: “The recovery of Education is crucial to this generation of schoolchildren who have already missed out on so much. Today's visit was a refreshing sign that education is returnimg to normality. It was a pleasure to join the minister around Gatcombe Park Primary School and to see so many happy, engaged children on their first day back.
We were able to discuss how this Conservative government acted swiftly to reduce the digital divide during national lockdowns and praised teachers and support staff for “going the extra mile” during periods of uncertainty.
It was a pleasure to join local Councillors and the Minister of State for School Standards in a tour of the school. We were able to witness children engaging in learning and explorative talk. We discussed the importance of developing oracy and independent thinking from early years and saw some of the collective efforts from school staff and parents to create additional resources around the site.
In addition, we explored opportunities for additional funding into the school. Thank you to Ian and his staff for welcoming us on their first day back”.
Councillor Daniel Wemyss said:
“I was delighted to visit Gatcombe Park with the Minister and colleagues today. The Headmaster Ian Baker and his staff have worked exceptionally hard during the pandemic and it was wonderful to see the smile on pupils faces as they entered the classroom for the first time in many months.
Gatcombe Park is central to the community and I know many parents who speak highly of the staff and this is testament to the high educational standards they have set and the strong engagement with parents”.
Scott Payter- Harris added; "Gatcombe Park is an excellent school and it was a pleasure to see pupils returning for the new school year. They were genuinely excited to be back and I'd like to pay my thanks to the teachers and staff here and across the city for all they are doing in order to ensure the impact of the past 18 months is minimised as much as it can be. Education is key to peoples future success."