§ 14. Mr. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)
What range of amounts per pupil will result from the planned method of allocation for the increased special payments to head teachers announced in the spending review for (a) primary and (b) secondary schools; and if he will make a statement. 
§ The Minister for School Standards (Ms Estelle Morris)
As there is no maximum size of school, it is not possible to give a precise range, but teachers in both the primary and secondary sector have welcomed the special grant that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced recently.
§ Mr. Taylor
The 44 primary schools in North-West Leicestershire give a warm welcome to the extra resources in the classroom to which my right hon. Friend has referred, but they are concerned about the sharp gearing in the system, which means that the loss of the 100th pupil can mean the loss of £6,000 of income. Will she undertake to review that aspect of the scheme and reassure Leicestershire Members of Parliament that our chronic underfunding of primary schools—£150 per pupil and £6 million in the county overall— will be addressed soon?
§ Ms Estelle Morris
I acknowledge that my hon. Friend has a record of speaking in the House in support of improved funding for Leicestershire. We will of course keep things under review, but we were keen to keep the special grant as simple as possible. It has been widely welcomed. It is additional money on top of that already directed through local authorities through the standard spending assessment and then through local management of schools to local schools. Primary and secondary schools welcome the assurance that they will have the money for the next two years, but, as ever, and as we did last year, we will certainly keep things under review.
§ Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York)
When revising the grant in future, will the Minister be prepared to accept an element of rurality in allocating the grant, so that the problems of sparsely populated rural areas are taken into account when devolving such a formula to schools?
§ Ms Morris
No, that is properly reflected in the standing spending assessment and that is where it should be reflected. This is a special grant that is given on top of SSA funding. It is sent directly to schools; it is not earmarked. It is additional to all the other resources that schools have received. We ought to keep the grant simple. I do not want to set up a bureaucratic formula about which we shall have to argue again. Let us consider the needs of rural schools, but let us keep them within the SSA framework and let us keep the special grant as simple as possible and get it into schools with the minimum of bureaucracy.