Academic Freedom

In response to the campaign on academic freedom, David said:

"Our universities have a proud and successful history, a history that encourages freedom of speech and it is important that this right is preserved. The Prime Minister has said our universities should not be just be places of learning, but should also be placed where there can be open debate.

The Minister for Universities has been clear that universities have a legal duty to secure freedom of speech for students, staff and visiting speakers and must have clear policies in place to support this practice. This duty extends to both the premises of the university and premises occupied by the students' unions, even if they are not part of the university premises. This means that universities have a legal obligation to ensure the use of student union premises is not denied to individuals on the grounds or their beliefs, policy or objectives.

Universities also have a responsibility under of the Equality Act 2010 to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all staff and students. This helps ensure that all individuals are able to express their opinions without fear of discrimination, or harassment by the university.

The Department for Education provides additional support to universities to ensure that ideas and opinions can be heard, challenged and debated - including help to assess the possible risks around external speakers.

Freedom of speech is vital in society, and in particular in higher education. It is essential for academic thinking to remain cutting-edge and for ideas to be explored and challenged. The procedures are in place to uphold this right from any external or internal threats."

More information about the campaign can be here.

School Funding

In response to the campaign on school funding, David said:

"I am proud that we are delivering on the manifesto commitment to put an end to the postcode lottery that created huge differences in funding between similar schools in different parts of the country. Reforms to the school funding system will balance fairness and stability for schools. It will also build on the improved standards delivered since 2010.

I am encouraged by the £1.3 billion boost for core school funding, meaning school funding will rise from almost £41 billion this year to £42.4 billion in 2018/19 and £43.5 billion by 2019/20.

The new national funding formula will increase the basic amount allocated for every pupil and will allocate a minimum funding level per pupil for both secondary and primary schools. This will help to target the lowest funded schools. It will provide a minimum cash increase for every school of 1 per cent per pupil by 2019-20, with the most underfunded schools seeing rises of 3 per cent per pupil in 2018-19 and 2019-20. I am also encouraged that every school will receive a lump sum of £110,000 to help with fixed costs.

I am delighted that, if these reforms are implemented in full, there will be a 7.2% increase in funding for the Buckinghamshire schools block when compared to 2017-18. This is one of the largest increases in the country and will be a substantial boost to local schools. It represents a cash increase in respect of each individual school, with all secondary schools attracting at least £4,800 per pupil and all primary schools attracting at least £3,500 per pupil by 2019-20."