A Better Plan for Schools starts by reversing the Funding Cuts

I am shocked that this government thinks that it can cut school’s annual (mainly teaching) budgets without this having an impact. With average class sizes already above 30 in many schools this will have a significant impact. The way to reverse this is not the Conservative promise to end free school dinners for all, while forgetting about the impact of academies on budgets. And The IFS has today exposed that this unfair idea would still lead a to 3% a year cut by 2021.

I highlighted this school funding crisis in my recent campaign to be re-elected onto Surrey County Council. The full extent of the government’s cuts to Reigate constituency schools are highlighted in the table here.  

This is unacceptable. I admire the excellent work done by teachers and other school staff under the current difficult conditions. I believe it is truly shocking that the Conservative Party is cutting funding for schools, with many schools now reducing teaching staff as well as cutting back on basic equipment. I understand that through speaking to a governor of one local primary school that around 90% of the school budget goes on staff – so cutting budgets will surely have a knock on effect, estimated at over 100 less teachers across the Reigate constituency.

 Our civilised society should value education as a public good and invests in it accordingly. Failure to do so is not only dereliction of duty towards individual children, whose opportunities to learn and thrive are greatly reduced; it is also extremely short-sighted, as the UK relies upon a well-educated population for its workforce and its global reputation – and for us to create a different and better future for the UK, and worldwide education is absolutely central.

We need to reverse both the government school budget cuts and academisation that are squeezing our school’s operations and leading to teaching posts being cut and class sizes going up across the UK.

In addtion, the shift to schools to academies is exacerbating this issue – as the additional cost of running the academy chains itself also draws money away, leaving less for teaching.

This means schools budgets are not just being squeezed by the government – but by the need to support academy chains. So schools budgets are in a double squeeze.

The Green Party’s position on this is clear. We must reverse both of these pressures on school budgets – and get better schools for all as a result.

  • Firstly, we must ensure that real terms spending on schools increases and is protected; which will reduce class sizes, with a long-term goal of 20 per class at both primary and secondary level.
  • Equally, we commit to return all schools to local authority control, ending the disastrous experiment with free schools and academies, which has fragmented the school system and directed money to where it is least needed while failing to improve children’s education.

Reversing this requires strong political campaigning to be brought, for which I am happy to act on your behalf.