SCHOOLS in east Cheshire, including Middlewich High School, are due to become the most poorly-funded in the country under new funding proposals.

At £4,122 per head, a new funding formula for schools would see Cheshire East Council become the worst-funded local authority in Britain, falling short of the previous low of £4,158.

The news has drawn an angry reaction from headteachers across the borough, including Middlewich High School’s Keith Simpson who contacted MP Fiona Bruce to voice his concerns.

Middlewich High School will suffer due to changes in funding for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), an area in which it is a leading school.

Mr Simpson said: “As head I have no option but to reduce staffing from this area in order to meet a minimum number of teachers to provide a curriculum.

“This is alongside the shortfall in SEND funding for schools that maintain a truly inclusive intake. This short-term view will only store up problems for society and other services in the long term.

“I feel that the holistic support for children and families is being sacrificed and has no educational value in raising standards for our most vulnerable students.”

Mrs Bruce brought up the issue in the House of Commons, calling it one of “great concern” which she found “difficult to understand”.

She added that Cheshire East Council had expected to benefit from the new formula, which was designed to level the playing fields for schools which have experienced poor funding in the past.

She told members of Parliament: “A year ago, I took a group of headteachers to meet the former education minister [Sam Gyimah MP], to ensure that he heard directly their concerns on the poor funding for east Cheshire schools, and to implore him that the new formula must address them.

“And this was after a similar meeting in the previous Parliament, when Cheshire East Council local authority officers met his predecessor for the same purpose.

“In addition, hundreds of my constituents signed a petition for fairer funding. This issue is far from new, which is why last week’s announcement was so shocking.

“My headteachers are asking how Cheshire East has become the most poorly-funded area, after they made such a convincing case to the minister at their meeting. They thought they had been heard. I, too, find it difficult to understand.”