AN Essex MP has met with a top parliamentary figure to lobby for extra financial support to schools.

Witham MP Priti Patel has spoken to the Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan, to discuss increased financial support for schools in light of recent economic pressures.

During the meeting, they discussed the impact of increasing energy bills on school budgets and the support central Government could provide to help schools who are facing difficulties.

Braintree and Witham Times: Education Secretary Gillian KeeganEducation Secretary Gillian Keegan (Image: PA)

This follows work throughout the year from former Home Secretary Ms Patel in ensuring the voice of schools is being heard in Westminster.

In October, Ms Patel met with headteachers and representatives of academies and trusts to discuss the issues they were facing with their school budgets especially in the light of increased energy costs.

These concerns were then raised with Essex County Council in November, when Ms Patel met with Tony Ball, the cabinet member for education, and Clare Kershaw, director of education.

In addition, Ms Patel also met with Jonathan Duff, regional director for the east of England at the Department for Education, to discuss localised support for schools across her own Witham constituency and the need to ensure that school standards are maintained.

Following these discussions, Ms Patel was pleased to welcome the announcement in the Spending Review regarding school funding, which will see the Government investing an additional £2.3 billion of funding in 2023-24 and 2024-25 to the core budget in England, a yearly rise of four per cent.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the cash boost in the Autumn Statement, saying it was a “thank you” for the sector’s “brilliant work”.

Ms Patel said: “It is welcome news the Government has listened to the concerns raised about the financial difficulties schools have experienced and delivered additional funding for the coming financial year’s budget.

“It is imperative that during these challenging economic circumstances, education standards are prioritised and students continue to be put first. 

“This further support will provide much-needed reassurance to pupils, parents, and schools across my constituency.”