Schools Minister welcomes extra investment in classrooms

Schools Minister Nick Gibb has welcomed investment for refurbished classrooms after a visit to Oaklands Catholic School organised by Havant MP Alan Mak.

The Minister observed lessons, met teachers and students, and launched building work for a £1.2million improvement works project. The investment came from the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund to refurbish the Newman Block, which is part of the Education Department’s continued capital investment into schools.

Alan said he had invited to Minister back to the constituency, having previously visited Havant Academy, to see how Government funding is being used to improve local schools.

Alan said: “Backing local schools and students is one of my top priorities, and I’m delighted they’re receiving more funding. It was great to welcome the Minister to launch work on an exciting new refurbishment project at Oaklands School. Projects such as these show the Government’s continued commitment to improving school facilities in our area.”

During the visit the Minister also held a roundtable meeting with local headteachers to discuss the updated National Funding Formula for schools. The new funding formula will ensure every school in the constituency will see a budget increase following Alan’s campaign for more funding in Westminster.  Under a previous draft funding formula schools in Havant had been set to lose around £1million.

However, there has been concern from some headteachers over the way that the increased funding has been redistributed by Hampshire County Council. Lobbying by Alan prevented the worst of three options for Havant schools from being chosen by decision-makers at County Hall.

Alan added: “While I am encouraged by the Government’s decision to boost the core school budgets by £1.3 billion next year, I’m going to continue to lobby hard in Westminster to ensure schools in Havant get a fair share. That’s why I invited the Minister to Havant for the second time, so he could speak directly with local headteachers and understand the needs of our constituency.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “Alan is passionate about education and campaigns hard for the schools in his constituency. I’m delighted he invited me to Oaklands School so I could see first-hand how extra funding is improving classrooms and teaching. I also had a constructive meeting with local headteachers on school funding, hearing the impact of the new National Funding Formula in the area. As a champion for local schools I am sure Alan will continue to ensure important educational issues are raised in Westminster.”

Oaklands headteacher Matthew Quinn said he was delighted to welcome the Minister to the school. During the tour the Minister visited several classes as well as hosting a Q&A with students. 

He added: “I am delighted that Alan invited the Minister to visit Oaklands to help us officially start work on our exciting new refurbishment project and meet with students. I know that the students really enjoyed meeting him, and we were pleased with the chance to ask questions to a Government Minister on a range of topics.”