Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

Holding the Mayor to account on behalf of my constituents: Schools Funding and TfL consultation

Click to watch video where I explain all about this week’s Mayors Question Time.

On Wednesday at the Mayor’s Question Time (MQTs) I made sure that I voiced the concerns of my constituents in the questions I put forward.

Part of my role as London Assembly member for the North East is to hold the Mayor to account on issues that affect those living in my boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.

I do this by posing questions to the Mayor at Mayor’s Question Time. Mayor’s Question Time meetings take place ten times a year and are used to quiz the Mayor on the full range of matters, including policing, the fire service and transport.

You can find more information about the MQTs here.

 

National Funding Formula

 

My first question to the Mayor today was about the National Funding Formula (NFF). The current government has just finished consultations about this proposed new way of funding education in the UK. I am concerned that the NFF will leave schools in London financially worse off. London schools have demonstrated the success that can be achieved with adequate funding, and they should not be punished for these gains.

I’m proud that since 2006 London has improved its performance at both secondary and primary level, with the best GCSE results in the country. But this is now under threat and locally, my constituency of Hackney is in the top 20 local authorities worst affected by the new funding formula.

I have recently written to the Rt Hon Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education on behalf of the London Assembly Education Panel. This was to set out our response to the Department for Education (DfE’s) second stage consultation on the National Funding Formula. I argue “while we recognise the need for greater transparency and accountability in how schools are funded, introducing a new National Funding Formula that strips money out of London will endanger the success of our schools, weaken the drive to boost productivity and undermine the Government’s objective to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life.” You can find the full letter here.

As Chair of the Education Panel, I am determined to ensure that the National Funding Formula does not excessively penalise London schools that have worked so hard to get to the standards they are today. So, I asked the Mayor to consider what impact the National Funding Formula will have on children’s life chances in London? You can watch the video here.

The Mayor agreed with me that there is no doubt that the funding proposals put forward by the current government will cause an education crisis for the capital. It is completely unacceptable that the government has chosen to hit London’s children the hardest, since the proposals will adversely affect 70% of London schools.

He highlights my three boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will face cuts of 1.1%, 1.5% and 2.3% respectively if the full formula was implemented this year. He has assured me he will be following my actions by formally responding to the Department of Education highlighting how this proposed formula will penalise London schools.

 

TfL Consultation

 

From a TfL perspective, one of the most frequently heard complaints from my constituents, is that they weren’t properly consulted. For example:

  • Changes to bus stops on Archway Gyratory; of the 818 respondents, 75% disagreed with the proposal but TfL continued with the changes;
  • Over 5000 people petitioned against the Mini Holland scheme in Waltham Forest where local roads were closed, causing more traffic and affecting local businesses and residents;
  • In Stoke Newington, the Cycle Superhighway scheme, received complaints from a large number of residents claiming they did not receive the consultation documents.

Many constituents denied receiving consultation documents at all, because they were delivered in large, plain envelopes that failed to state what was inside. So I asked the Mayor if he would agree with me that the time is appropriate for a full review of all aspects of TfL’s consultation process. I was able to secure commitment from him that Transport for London’s consultation methods will be overhauled. You can watch the video here.

Overall I was able to address issues that have been brought to me by my constituents and I am pleased that I was able to secure some concrete answers from the Mayor that were very positive. In a short video, I talk more about my day and you can watch it at the top of this article or here.


For any queries feel free to email me: jennette.arnold@london.gov.uk