Socialist Worker

The movement against brutal Tory cuts to school funding is spreading

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2547

A parents meeting in Lambeth, south London, last week

A parents meeting in Lambeth, south London, last week (Pic: James Hopkirk)


The revolt to stop the Tories’ attacks on school funding is growing. Over 100 teachers and parents attended a meeting opposing the education cuts atStoke Newington school in Hackney, east London, on Wednesday.

They heard from the deputy mayor, a local head teacher, a parent campaigner and a speaker from the NUT union.

Dave Davies is secretary of Hackney NUT. “All speakers outlined the devastating effects the cuts would have and the necessity to build a big, united campaign to oppose them,” he told Socialist Worker.

“Speaker after speaker from the floor expressed their willingness to support the campaign and to support teachers taking industrial action against cuts.

The meeting in Hackney on Wednesday

The meeting in Hackney on Wednesday (Pic: Jane Bassett)


“When the chair asked for a show of hands from parents as to whether they would support teachers striking against the cuts the result was unanimous support.”

The meeting was one of many taking place across Britain.

Socialist

Activists in the Turkish and Kurdish socialist organisation Day-Mer have called a meeting for Kurdish and Turkish parents in north London this Saturday. Oktay Sahbaz helped organise it.

He told Socialist Worker, “School funding cuts will have immense consequences. Teachers will lose their jobs and resources will be reduced. Opportunities for all students, especially those with special educational needs or who have English as an additional language, will become very limited.

“The consequences of these cuts must be known by all parents, including parents of migrant communities. More importantly, parents from these communities must be part of the struggle against these cuts.”

Oktay said the meeting would be the “first step” to building a broader fight. “We hope that parents can go back to their schools and be part of parent campaigns,” he said.

“We believe the best way to overcome any prejudice is to ensure we build common struggles. We want the Turkish and Kurdish community to be part of the bigger struggle against austerity.”

Campaigners

Many more meetings are coming up, including in Sheffield and Bristol next week, along with another in Hackney. And campaigners plan a rally in Chesterfield on Saturday 1 April.

The cuts will see schools losing £3 billion a year in real terms by 2020. And the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed this week that savage cuts will continue after that.

Government “protections” claim to limit the amount schools will lose by 2019-20. If the protections end immediately in 2020 “this would imply cuts in funding per pupil of more than 7 percent for almost 1,000 schools”. Meanwhile 5,500 “over-funded” schools would “experience an average cut of 4.5 percent in cash terms”.

The IFS said the government’s formula is “broadly sensible” and that it should be “applauded for making specific proposals”. Yet it admitted that some schools would suffer “cuts of more than 10 percent” by 2019-20.

Inner London will be worst hit. And areas with already low levels of funding, such as Cheshire East, will suffer further cuts.

The IFS confirmed that money will be “diverted from schools with very high levels of deprivation”. The Tories claim their formula is “fair”— yet the poorest children will lose the most.

Go to schoolcuts.org.uk to see how the funding formula will affect your area, and fairfundingforallschools.org to get involved in the campaign

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