Thursday, 2 February 2017

My LT Column - Your School -

Your local school budget is about to get wholloped. Every school, everywhere.

The biggest cuts fall in urban area as the Government tries to protect school budgets in rural schools. Hard working parents who help fund raise through PTA’s and the like will have to do more. More than they are currently doing to make up the £400 or thereabouts shortfall per pupil.

The Conservative Government’s failure to balance the government budget by 2015 (they have put it back to 2022) means that children will now bare some of the cuts. Schools’ funding will be cut by £3 billion by 2020, despite further promises by the Government that education budgets would be protected after 2015.

On average, a secondary school will face over £400,000 in cuts while a primary school will have to deal with nearly £90,000 of cuts. In Lancashire alone, schools will be hit with nearly £69 million worth of cuts – that’s 1,841 less teachers, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT). Every class needs a teacher. What will be sacrificed is highly valued teaching assistants, cleaners, catering and specialist teachers.

Haslingden High will face a cut of nearly £850,000. Blackburn Central High School will lose £634,000, Witton Park £737,000, St Christopher’s will face a cut of over £635,000. And Accrington Academy will face a cut of nearly £750,000. Darwen Vale will lose £539 per pupil, Witton Park £827 per pupil, St Mary’s Primary will see a loss of £531 per pupil, while each student at Mount Carmel will lose £743. These are enormous sums of money. I haven’t even picked the very highs.

The Government have got this wrong. Our children don’t have broad shoulders, they are our future and it undermines the efforts made by parents. It’s not about fair funding.

It’s about economic failure requiring more cuts and in doing so denying children the best of education and not providing the future economy with as well-educated, work-fit adults. Britain’s economy rests on good, comprehensive education.

It’s about continuing to ensure that government areas are well looked after at the expense of the rest of England. They affect poorer (and often Labour) areas. Schools in the 10 best funded areas will receive average grants of more than £2,000 per pupil compared to pupils in the most poorly funded areas. The funding cuts will hit schools harder which have higher percentages of kids from families who are ‘just about managing’ (JAMs).

It’s a failure to understand our children are our future.

Our kids deserve a world-class education so they can go to university, secure an apprenticeship or land a decent job. The cuts are just the latest of foolish education policies from the government that will prevent young people from doing just that.