Socialist Worker

‘School cuts are an election issue’ as parents, pupils and teachers protest

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2556

Parents and pupils protest in Cambridge

Parents and pupils protest in Cambridge (Pic: Tom Woodcock)


Parents, children, teachers and others joined a nationwide day of action yesterday, Friday, against cuts to school funding.

Events took place across Britain in what was dubbed the School Assemby, called by the Fair Funding For All Schools campaign.

Teachers, parents and children from 42 schools in Brighton and Hove held two protests organised by the Save Our Schools campaign.

Nupur Verma, one of the organisers, said, “Staff numbers are decreasing and so is funding, which doesn’t add up. It is putting serious pressure on teachers and makes it harder for our children to get the most out of their education.”

Around 400 joined the protest in the Portslade area of Brighton and Hove. Organiser Viv Mudi said, "Mainly, we needed to get the parents engaged. That is what is going to make a difference and I feel we did that today.”

It’s right to fight the Tories as ‘Big School Assembly’ against cuts draws huge crowd
It’s right to fight the Tories as ‘Big School Assembly’ against cuts draws huge crowd
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In Islington, north London, head teacher Cassie Moss said, "We have come together because we can’t sit back and watch a world class and inclusive education system be decimated without shouting about it from the rooftops.

“Headteachers very rarely voice themselves publicly but we are extremely concerned about the impact of these real term cuts."

Manifesto

Tory leader Theresa May was forced to pledge £4 billion for schools in the Tory manifesto – by 2022. The manifesto said this would represent “more than a real-terms increase for every year of the parliament”.

It’s a lie. The truth is, schools face a crisis now – and still face real terms cuts.

While the protests were taking place on Friday, two think tanks said England’s schools will face cuts in real terms for years to come if the Tories are elected on 8 June.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said school funding would fall by nearly 3 percent by 2021, even with the £4 billion May has pledged.

This is largely because of a growth in pupil numbers, inflation and past cuts.

The IFS added that secondary schools in England would get £500 more per pupil per year on average under Labour than the Tories.

This is a 6 percent rise after inflation. Meanwhile the Lib Dem plans would see spending stay the same in real terms.

The Education Policy Institute also said that Tory plans would cut schools funding in real terms.

Parents and carers from Shirley Primary School and Chesterton Primary School held a Fair Funding For Education picnic in Cambridge.

Sophie Mitchell, a parent  from Chesterton Primary School said, "School cuts have already led to teaching assistants being made redundant. These staff make a vital impact on all children.   
"The prospect of my children entering secondary school after years of cuts like this is very worrying."

Tom Woodcock, parent of a year four chid at Shirley Primary said, "Many politicians want this election to be about Brexit but regardless of whether we are in or out of Europe no parent wants school budget cuts. Many parents here are determined that this is a central election issue."


Education Question Times and protests take on school cuts

Some 400 turned out in Newcastle last Sunday for a rally against school cuts. Over 300 joined a Big School Assembly picnic in Wanstead, north east London, on Wednesday of last week.

Around 100 people joined an Education Question Time (EQT) in Ealing, west London, last Thursday. Another 100 were at an EQT in Hackney North and 80 in Harrow on the same evening. And the Tory candidate at a busy EQT in Shipley, Bradford, was shouted down.

In Brent, west London, some 70 joined an EQT last Friday. Many more events are planned across Britain.

There is a real mood to take on the Tories over education and it is much wider than the “usual suspects” of existing activists. We can’t waste the mood against May.

NUT union members backed strikes against the cuts at their annual conference earlier this year. One Hackney teacher said an indicative ballot for strikes in her school last week delivered a result of 80 to zero in favour of walkouts.

The cuts can be beaten. Whatever happens on 8 June ordinary people must continue to mobilise.

 


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