Education. One of the hottest of hot-button issues in politics, and something Labour’s man in Bridgwater West, Richard Hampson, cares passionately about. Quality teaching in quality schools is something society should strive towards. But halfway through the most socially destructive government since Thatcher’s, our embattled education system is looking increasingly under threat.
Led by Education Secretary Michael Gove, Tories and Lib Dems alike have constantly run down state education and children’s achievements in the classroom.Teachers have been slurred from Whitehall. Instead of incredibly hard-working professionals deserving respect, they’ve been portrayed as bumbling amateurs who need to be told how to teach by self-righteous politicians who’ve not spent a day in a classroom since they were in short trousers.
Gove has taken his incredibly narrow and laughably outdated ideas about what schooling should be like and forced them into every classroom in Britain. He majorly shifted GSCE grade boundaries part way through the academic year and let 10,000 school children struggle through exams far tougher than anything they’d been used to.
Ruthless cuts agenda
Richard says “Lib Dems and Conservatives have made schools worse place to be as their ruthless cuts agenda has started to bite. Dreamt up in Whitehall but enforced on the ground by Tories in county Hall, the cuts have already seen funding for new schools slashed by 60%. They’ve killed off Labour’s Building Schools For the Future Programme – in Bridgwater, Chilton just scraped through before the funding was taken away, but hundreds of other schools weren’t so lucky.”
And now Labour have found a massive black hole of over £3 billion in the school repairs budget. Under Clegg, Cameron and Tory-held County Hall, Somerset’s schools will be left to crumble while teacher’s autonomy and professionalism is attacked and students are put under intense pressure by strict new exams like Gove’s Spelling Punctuation and Grammar test.
For the sake of the county’s children and the teachers who work so hard to teach them, Somerset needs a political turnaround on May the 2nd.
‘Children’s futures are at stake’
Richard, who has worked as the bursar of a state school, managed a local government budget of over £5m and is now a governor of St Mary’s Primary school, is clear where that change of direction is going to come from.
“We need to send a message to the Tories in County Hall that when children’s futures are at stake, this just isn’t good enough” said Richard. “There’s no better way of doing that than getting as many Labour councillors elected this May as possible”.
“The Tories and the Lib Dems are starving the education system of funding. Labour would bring forward capital spending to support, maintain and improve our schools, and, most importantly, help give our children better chances in life”.