More money for North Devon’s schools and more money for special educational needs has been announced by the secretary of state for education during a trip to Barnstaple in the run up to the General Election.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson speaks with North Devon prospective parliamentary candidate Selaine Saxby in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony GussinEducation secretary Gavin Williamson speaks with North Devon prospective parliamentary candidate Selaine Saxby in Barnstaple. Picture: Tony Gussin

Gavin Williamson was in the town on Tuesday, November 19 to join Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate and local teacher Selaine Saxby as she spoke to potential voters on the doorsteps in Whiddon Valley.

Mr Williamson said the Government had recognised the lower level of schools funding for rural areas compared with the cities.

He told the Gazette: "North Devon as a constituency is getting one of the largest increases in funding, it's a 6.46% increase in per pupil funding.

"On top of that we are making sure that every single school is having their pension cost covered, that not just for one year but it's for the next three years.

"It's also about putting an awful lot more extra money into special educational needs, which is something that I know is a concern to Selaine and many people right across the country.

"We have not just talked about funding for one year, it's about funding for multiple years because I want to give teachers and headteachers confidence to be able to plan for multiple years so we have done a funding settlement for three years.

"It means by the end of that three years schools both in cash terms but also real terms will be getting more money per pupil than they have ever had before.

"We are putting so much more money into schools in terms of increasing per pupil funding, making sure there a minimum of £5,000 per child at secondary school, a minimum of £4,000 per child at primary school."

Mr Williamson also spoke on Brexit and said: "Quite frankly whether people voted leave or whether they voted remain, people just want to get it done, they want to be able to deliver on that referendum and move on and start talking about all those other incredibly important priories."

Ms Saxby said the talk on the doorsteps was about getting Brexit done.

She said: "Time and time again, people are just desperate to get this over and done with, it's like groundhog day, so that we can move on and actually do things like education well and the NHS and actually move the country forward."

She added: "I am delighted to welcome more funding for special educational needs, which actually in the classroom we are desperate for.

"It's something that children need, more support when they do have more complicated health care requirements at school and we need more money to be coming into the classroom and into the school environment to support them so I am delighted to hear that from Gavin this afternoon and with the previous announcement about the funding for North Devon."

The General Election on December 12 will see the North Devon constituency contested by Ms Saxby, Alex White for the Liberal Democrats, Finola O'Neill for the Labour Party, Robbie Mack for the Green Party and independent Steve Cotton.