A Birmingham school plans to slash two and a half hours’ teaching time from children each week because of Tory cuts.
Selly Oak Trust School has written to parents explaining that the school day will be 30 minutes shorter from September.
Parent Steve told Socialist Worker, “This is a special school for children with moderate educational needs. If anybody needs extra help, it’s children like my lad.
“They often skirt around cuts by saying they’re going to make efficiencies. But this will have a direct impact. Two and a half hours a week is not trivial.”
The cuts have been announced as the Tories prepare to impose their so-called fair funding formula on schools in England. It will snatch some £3 billion from schools every year by 2020 if it goes ahead.
The Selly Oak letter says the cuts in hours “will ensure that we meet the savings demanded of us”.
Steve pointed out that the cuts would put more pressure on parents too. “This is a working class suburb of Birmingham,” he said.
“There are already many grandmas and grandads picking up kids from school because women are trying to juggle childcare and part time work.”
It’s not the only school planning drastic changes due to lack of funding.
Redland Green School in Bristol wrote to parents last month to warn that funding was at “a critical level”. It said, “We can only achieve a balanced budget by significantly reducing what we have been doing.”
The letter suggests that parents could set up a £10 a month direct debit to support the school.
But there is resistance. Three south east London schools ended a two-day strike today, Thursday, against planned cuts. NUT union members walked out at Forest Hill School, Corelli College and Plumstead Manor School. GMB union members were also on strike at Plumstead Manor.
Forest Hill teacher Sharon told Socialist Worker, “The cuts they want are so deep that the school won’t survive. The government has got to stop them so we can deliver education.”
And Kirstie Paton, assistant secretary of Greenwich NUT, said, “These cuts will hit learning mentors and other support staff. They are the lifeblood of the school—these aren’t going to be invisible cuts.”
Steve rejected the idea that austerity and cuts are necessary. He said the government should “stop dropping bombs on people in foreign countries and stop giving enormous tax breaks to rich people”.
“It strikes me that my kids, some of the most vulnerable people, are being punished while it’s tax breaks all round for the non doms,” he said.
“They see non-voting kids as a soft target.”