I am lucky to have visited many of our fantastic schools in Maidstone and The Weald in recent months. At each one, I am inspired by the thoughtfulness of the students and the dedication of their wonderful teachers.
I am therefore delighted that, as a new academic year kicks off this week, the Government are providing a significant cash boost to our schools. In total an extra £14 billion will be provided so that every school in the country can benefit from a real terms funding increase. That will make a particularly significant difference to us here in Kent where the money should amount to a £500 per pupil annual funding increase for our lowest funded primary schools and a guarantee of £5000 per pupil for our secondary schools.
Furthermore, there will also be a further £20 million in Special Educational Needs funding for Kent. I know, from speaking to local headteachers, that this money is much-needed and I am therefore delighted it will now be provided. Importantly, the bulk of this new money will go directly into classrooms to ensure that no child is held back from reaching their potential.
The cash injection will also mean a pay increase for teachers. When we look back at our time in school, all of us will remember teachers who supported us along the way. For me it was Mrs Atkinson and Miss Glendinning, my PE teachers. They not only fostered in me a love of sport but they also taught me crucial life lessons like the importance of teamwork, self-discipline and respect. I owe them so much. It is vital that teaching is recognised as the high-value, prestigious profession that it is and that our inspirational teachers are paid accordingly.
I am delighted that this funding increase will make sure our teachers have the resources they need to provide all our children across Maidstone and The Weald with the world-class education they deserve.