Layla Moran, John McDonnell and Caroline Lucas are among a cross-party panel of MPs hosting a Parliamentary briefing-with-a-difference on 10 Oct, 2018. At the event, children will come from all over England to tell and sing their stories of how years of damaging underfunding is affecting them and their schools.
Parent campaign group Save Our Schools UK, in conjunction with other parent groups nationally, including Rescue Our Schools, have invited MPs and Peers to the event, and expect MPs from all parties to seize the opportunity to hear directly from children and their families about the impact of the cuts.
“Recent claims on spending and on quality of education from the Department for Education are deliberately misleading, and have yet again led to investigation by the National Statistics Authority,” says Alison Ali, co-founder of the SOS campaign in Brighton & Hove.
Independent figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies show that funding per pupil had fallen by 8% between 2010 and 2018. There are 66,000 more children in state schools this year than last, but 10,800 fewer staff, including 5,000 fewer teachers and 2,500 fewer teaching assistants. And a recent survey by the National Governors Association shows nearly a third of schools nationwide are already in the red.
“As other state services crumble, schools are expected to do more, with more pupils; yet they’re being given less money, and have fewer teachers,” Ali continues. “A nine-year-old can see the figures don’t add up – it’s time for Damian Hinds and Philip Hammond to do the maths and reverse the damaging cuts before schools slip so far into crisis there’ll be no coming back.”
Children will speak about the different ways the funding crisis affects them, including their heartbreak at losing most of the teaching assistants at their schools; the devastating cuts to SEND provision; the social inequality created by an increasing reliance on parent donations; loss of opportunity as non-core subjects disappear from the curriculum and what it’s like to learn in crumbling buildings.
“We can see with our own eyes the effect that funding cuts are having on our schools,” says Edie Bellamy, a 12-year-old from Derbyshire. “We want to be able to study the subjects we love; we want children who need help to get it. We want all the MPs to ask the government to start funding schools properly so that every child can have a good education.”
Children will bring large-scale artworks and messages to the event, as well as hand-painted pebbles for MPs to keep on their desks as paperweights. Parents will be asking MPs to sign a pledge to lobby hard for a properly funded education system, and will distribute dossiers cataloguing the effects of these real-terms cuts in regions around the country.
The parent-led event, bringing together Save Our Schools, Fairer Funding for All Schools, Rescue our Schools and many new parents groups springing up around the country, comes hot on the heels of more than 1,000 head teachers marching on Downing Street in September, and demonstrates how parents, teachers, heads, support staff, governors and teaching unions are working together to demand a reversal of the funding cuts in this Autumn’s budget.
“Philip Hammond’s predecessor said this year that ‘ministers would need to see a marked and rapid deterioration in standards’ before they stepped in with more cash,” says parent and teacher Kate Taylor, from Birmingham. “Parents can see that deterioration plainly, as our donations prop up school budgets, school buildings spring hundreds of leaks and we hear of 2,000 SEND children being left in limbo with no state education whatsoever.”
Parent groups – and their children – want to know how bad things have to get before the Treasury abandons its crisis-driven approach to funding schools, and provides the money needed to make sure all our children get the education they deserve.
Register for tickets here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-parliamentary-event-by-save-our-schools-uk-tickets-50407290563