Labour Candidates Hit Out at School Funding Cuts

Chelsea Chadwick Labour candidate for Eastover highlights school redundancies

The National Funding Formula was heralded as the silver bullet to solve school’s funding in England. Clearly it is missing the target by some way. Taking funding away from areas, which have a greater sufficiency in their budgets does not help schools and education. London is more adequately funded than other areas of the country however such funding has meant that they have been able to deliver projects to enable better outcomes for pupils generally.

Cllr Leigh Redman, County Labour Leader ,  said: “Taking money from such areas and spreading it thinly across others is not the solution. Cutting the same cake in smaller portions leaves everyone hungry. We need a bigger cake. Any minor gains for Somerset will be wiped out by more cuts to come before the end of this parliament”.

“The Government continues to argue that they are spending just as much money as before however they forget to tell people that schools have had to fund huge increases in staff costs with regard to employers contributions to things like National Insurance, staff pensions and an apprenticeship levy. None of this is covered by new money leaving schools in financial difficulty.

Eastover Labour Candidate highlights school job losses

Chelsea Chadwick Labour candidate for Eastover in the District By Election

Chelsea Chadwick ,Labour Candidate for the District Council by-election in Bridgwater,Eastover said: “£320 million pounds is being set aside for the much derided Grammar School project which no-one wants. This out of date form of selection in education has proven to widen social inequality not the opposite. It benefits the few whilst disadvantaging most. Our closest European neighbours whose systems are held up as examples of success, got rid of selection decades ago, as most areas in England did”.

Chelsea continued “In Somerset this is a time when schools are, once again, having to make redundancies this year. Drama, Art, Design Technology, PE, Modern Foreign Languages and some humanities classes are all being affected. Sadly in Somerset redundancy notices are being issued again this Spring. Subjects are being cut, staff are having to teach subjects they have no experience of. As a result students are getting a raw deal by having to make GCSE and A Level choices not suited to them”.

Vital Teacher Assistants are being cut also meaning less support for the most needy of pupils. Teacher recruitment is down and 40% of new teachers leave within the first 5 years of teaching. The crisis is not looming, it has arrived and the present Government must take responsibility for the lack of funding for education and schools.

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Jane Grenfell Labour candidate for North Petherton

Labour candidate for North Petherton, Jane Grenfell, said “Sounds good doesn’t it, £320 Million for 140 new schools. But as GCSE students will know, that is just £2.28 million to provide a new school. The cost of 10 average homes. Even some Tory MPs have cottoned on. The austerity policies and higher costs imposed by Treasury are undermining schools’ ability to balance the books and deliver the quality education our children deserve and need. The Chancellor can’t pull the wool over our eyes any longer – unlike him we can do the maths. “Protecting” the overall education budget is actually cutting it because the Tories have failed to take account of the increased student numbers. Here in Somerset our per pupil funding is over £1000 less than the national average of over £5400″ 

Jane added “I am supporting parents in North Petherton in their fight for school transport, and now I’m going to  campaign for a new secondary school to serve North Petherton division. The Queenswood Academy proposal by Haygrove Academy Trust recognises the need for additional capacity, but I believe it is misguided in its choice of location. If this is one of Mrs May’s 140 new schools it will need substantially more than £2 million if we are to secure the state of the art facility our children are entitled to. Extra funding seems to be available for selective schools – this will only increase the attainment gap between rich and poor.”

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