Trust CEO tackles Lopresti over “lack of representation” on school funding

Collage of images (l-r) Dave Baker (CEO, Olympus Academy Trust) and Jack Lopresti MP.

Dave Baker, CEO of the Olympus Academy Trust (OAT) which incorporates Bradley Stoke Community School, Meadowbrook Primary School and several other secondary and primary schools in the wider local area has met with Jack Lopresti MP to express his concerns about a “lack of representation in regard to inadequate school funding in our area”.

In a tweet made earlier this week, Mr Baker appeared to be critical of Mr Lopresti for not attending a debate held in parliament to discuss a petition titled ‘Increase funding for schools‘, which had been signed by over 100,000 people. He wrote: “We are in the lowest-funded local authority area in the country and our MP was apparently not present for the debate about school funding. Looking forward to meeting with @JackLopresti on Friday to talk this through.”

Following today’s meeting, Mr Baker tweeted: “There has been a lot of interest in my meeting @bradleystokecs with @JackLopresti this morning to discuss @olympustrust schools funding. He made a commitment to raise our concerns with others and I agreed to provide specific information about our budgets.”

A news item titled ‘Funding for schools in South Gloucestershire‘ subsequently appeared on the OAT website in which Mr Baker reports that Mr Lopresti has pledged to “liaise with other local MPs, including Luke Hall and Chris Skidmore, so that they can show a united front in highlighting concerns from across the education sector in South Gloucestershire, which is the lowest-funded local authority area in the country.”

Noting that the Castle School Education Trust was recently awarded £14 million in additional capital funding, Mr Baker says he is looking forward to “an update in regard to the financial support also urgently required for schools within the Olympus Academy Trust, and specifically at Patchway Community School”.

The background to the debate in parliament, which took place on Monday 4th March, along with a transcript and video recording of proceedings, may be be viewed at:

Mr Lopresti has been approached for comment.*

Photos (l-r): Dave Baker (CEO, Olympus Academy Trust) and Jack Lopresti MP.

* The BBC has since reported that Mr Lopresti said he was “unable to attend” [the petition debate] as he was in a meeting as part of his “government role assisting the Brexit Secretary”.

Mr Lopresti added: “Brexit continues to overshadow important debates such as this, I believe it is absolutely vital that Brexit is delivered and I felt I would be letting constituents down to abandon these duties.”

Update (11th March 2019)

Speaking of school funding and the Westminster Hall debate, Mr. Lopresti commented:

“Unfortunately I was unable to attend the 4th March Westminster Hall debate on school funding because I was in a meeting as part of my Government role assisting the Brexit Secretary. Whilst I regret that Brexit continues to overshadow important debates such as this, I believe it is absolutely vital that Brexit is delivered and I felt I would be letting constituents down to abandon these duties at such a critical time. I have spoken in two Westminster Hall debates this week, one highlighting the amazing work that thousands of local residents do in the defence industry contributing to our national security and another on the UK’s bilateral relations with Kurdistan, which is helping thousands of persecuted Christians and maintaining one of the few genuinely free societies in the Middle East.”

“I welcome the Government’s commitment to spend an additional £1.3bn on education above and beyond previous spending plans. In fact, figures from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies show that real terms per-pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50 percent higher than it was in 2000. I welcome that the Autumn Budget reiterates the commitment to improving every child’s education, with an additional £400 million for schools to spend on improving their facilities.”

“In addition, I am pleased to welcome the Budget put forward by Conservative colleagues on South Gloucestershire Council, which includes £78m for building, maintaining, and upgrading schools over the next three years, to include a brand new primary school for Charlton Hayes and two new special schools, at Marlwood and on the former Soundwell College site. In addition, schools in South Gloucestershire will receive £208m in funding for education and measures have been brought forward to provide a pot of £100,000 in match funding for ‘friends of’ school projects. Not only this, but cash has been found to fund a programme to allow deaf children to take their hearing aids home overnight, which will be life-changing for them.”

“I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Council, in the F40, in schools, and in the Government and hope to come to a schools funding arrangement that works for everyone.”

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  1. None of the Con MPs are interested in school funding. They are all yes men to the Cabinet and happy to trot out the “schools receiving more funding than ever before” mantra, even though they know that it’s a complete lie (per pupil finding has fallen… The office for national statistics has taken the Ed Sec to task for this numerous times but they still repeat it)

    Lopresti couldn’t give a rats about school funding cuts, and neither does Luke Hall or Skidmore (the great absentee MP never seen in his constituency)

  2. Didn’t South Glos Council just announce their budget which has the largest ever investment of £78million allocated for South Glos schools?

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