Rescue Our Schools

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Rescue Our Schools is at the Keep Early Years Unique conference in Brighton

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Rescue Our Schools is at the Keep Early Years Unique conference in Brighton, where the brilliant Kym Scott is explaining why children are truly challenged when they are allowed to play. We have been handing out our RoS manifesto and getting lots of pledges of support. Lots of interest too in More Than a Score, the alliance for alternatives to high stakes testing. RoS are proud founder members.

This is our joint budget statement with FFFAS and SOS

The Government has once again shown that it is out of touch with the concerns of parents and voters in every community who are calling for the investment in our schools which we were promised.

Targeting funding at A Level maths students does nothing to address the funding shortfalls that are afflicting every pupil in every classroom in the country. Rather than tinkering around the edges with gimmicky ideas from clueless special advisors, the government needs to listen to the views of parents – the service users – who are fed up with cuts to our schools.

Our school communities will remain united – parents standing with school leaders and staff – to fight for fair funding for all of our schools. If the Chancellor wishes to prepare our people to meet the challenges ahead he should invest in our children and our schools: our country’s future.

Rescue Our Schools at the Rally against Education Cuts

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Rescue Our Schools joined fellow national parent groups Fair Funding for All Schools and Save Our Schools in a show of solidarity against school cuts. More than a thousand parents and school staff lobbied their local MPs at Westminster against the continuing cuts.

RoS’Emma Bishton travelled from Suffolk with her son to attend the central London rally addressed by  shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Also speaking was Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and RoS supporter and Green spokesperson on education, Vix Lothian. There were great addresses from Fair Funding founder Jo Yurky and Save Our Schools’ Alison Ali.

RoS co-founder Madeleine Holt, seen with her daughter Sadie, told reporters that if the government doesn’t listen it will be punished at the ballot box. Its official line is still that schools have record levels of funding. So how come our experience as parents and teachers is so different?!

Sir Ken Robinson and ROS at the Education Forward event

Sir Ken Robinson has given his blessing to the Education Forward movement, of which Rescue Our Schools is a member. RoS co-founder Madeleine Holt spoke throughout the day, sharing both our manifesto and the story of More than a Score, which we helped set up. Eighty head teachers, teachers, parents, academics and future thinkers discussed ways to drag our education system into the 21st century. It was an inspiring day, and the start of something that could transform lives for children and young people.

A report from “School Cuts: What’s the Damage” National Education Union fringe meeting

Last Sunday evening Jonny Crawshaw chaired the “School Cuts: What’s the Damage” National Education Union fringe meeting at The Green Party Conference. The panel consisted of Kevin Courtney (Joint general Secretary, NEU), Vix Lowthion (Green Party Education Spokesperson) and Vickie Kemp (Fair Funding For All Schools).

Jonny began, introducing Rescue Our Schools, plugging the manifesto and urging people to join us. Kevin Courtney spoke very eloquently taking apart the government line that “there is more funding than ever” going into education; which there is, except that this doesn’t account for the increasing pupil numbers and increasing costs bourne by schools such pension contributions, apprenticeship levies and the effect of inflation. He conceded that there had been some movement on the new funding formula since the election. 88% of schools will be losing money down from 92% He evidenced this as the success of the campaign in the run up to the election, citing groups such as RoS and FFfAS as well as the Schoolcuts website.

Vix Lowthion spoke about her own experience as a teacher and the difficulties in speaking out. She is currently employed in the Isle of Wight, where she says she found difficulty in getting work having been a vocal opponent of changes happening within education under Michael Gove. She also reiterated the concern we all feel about the narrowing of the curriculum due to high stakes testing and the impact this has on children of all different backgrounds and abilities.

Vickie Kemp spoke about her shock in going into school one day and hearing the headteaching saying that there was no money, having previously believed that schools were well funded. She talked about the difficulty of setting up campaigns on your own, but how even though their FFfAS branch was still small, people were seeing their activity and coming forward to join them.

An open floor discussion ended with the consensus view that more pressure must be applied to government ministers over school funding and also in areas such as testing/assessment and the punitive approach taken to learning. One member rightly pointed out that it is not just parents, carers and staff who have a stake in education – we all do, irrespective of your personal circumstances. Society as a whole benefits from a well educated population.

Kevin Courtney spoke very positively about the RoS manifesto a number of times during the evening and recommended that members present seek it out and give it a read, saying it contained many ideas and values that we all share.

Vix Lowthion, Vickie Kemp and former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett all expressed support for the cause as well as a number of Green party members, who wished to be either better informed or more involved in the fight.

Education Forward conference in Leeds this Saturday 14th October

Education Forward: Moving Schools into the Future by [Price, David, Claxton, Guy , Stevenson, Mark , Hannon, Valerie , Waters, Mick , Roberts, Hywel, Kidd, Debra , Morrison McGill, Ross, Barwell, Claudia , Robinson, Liz, Madeleine Holt, John Rees, Henry Stewart, Jim Knight, Neil Roskilly, David Jackson]

Rescue Our Schools co-founder Madeleine Holt will be speaking at the Education Forward conference in Leeds this Saturday. Her topic will be More than a Score – the alliance which RoS helped set up last year to put forward alternatives to SATS, the phonics check and the proposed “baseline” test on four year olds. Also speaking are leading lights in the movement for a total rethink of education, among them Guy Claxton and Valerie Hannon. We will be handing out our RoS manifesto at the event. A grassroots movement is building to ensure our children have the skills they need for the 21st century. A book is being published to coincide with the conference. You can buy it here:

Rescue Our Schools supported the brilliant Arms Around Our Schools initiative – which is the brainchild of Brighton-based group Save Our Schools. Our picture shows children from Yerbury school in Islington in North London getting behind the event. Across England families linked arms in a symbolic gesture to protect their schools against funding cuts. 88 per cent of schools still face cuts, despite the government reallocating some Department for Education money to schools’ budgets. To find out how your school is still being affected, check out https://www.schoolcuts.org.uk/#!/

ROS’ Jonny Crawshaw at Green Party Conference

 

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Jonny will be chairing a fringe event on school funding at The Green Party conference in Harrogate on Sunday 8th oct at 6pm. Panel includes Kevin Courtney, a rep from FFFAS & Green Party education spokesperson, Vix Lowthion.

Just handed our manifesto to Angela Rayner

Thanks for taking a copy of our manifesto Angela, we hope you like it and will pledge your support. We would love to meet with you – we have loads of ideas !