Warrington Guardian Column – Government cuts to school funding are taking their toll

Every child should have access to world-class education and our hardworking, dedicated teaching staff must have the resources they need to do their job.

But, years of significant Government cuts to school funding are taking their toll.

The IFS, in its annual report on education for 2018, said school spending per pupil had fallen by 8% in real terms since 2010.

In Warrington, we have a legacy of low funding for schools.

Earlier this year, I conducted a survey with local schools to understand the impact of the Government’s funding cuts on schools in Warrington South.

31 schools responded, of which 100% were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their current funding situation. 81.25% said that since 2015 they have had to make staffing cuts due to funding pressures and 80.65% have cut spending on books and equipment.

This is a damning response from the people who know best how underfunding is affecting what they do.

Across the country our teachers, pupils, parents and campaigners have been crying out for the funding that is needed in our schools.

In his Budget, the Chancellor had an opportunity to listen to these calls and to take meaningful action by reversing the cuts.

Instead, the Chancellor chose to announce help for schools to fund the “little extras”.

This is an insult to schools at a time when headteachers are writing home to parents to ask for donations just to keep services at current levels.

The £400 million for these “little extras” is barely more than 10% of the £3.5 billion that has been cut from the education capital budget since 2010. And, it is one off funding.

The Chancellor offered nothing for core school budgets. His announcement will do nothing to address the fact that school budgets are £1.7 billion lower in real terms than they were in 2015.

And he provided nothing for children with Special Educational Needs and disabilities. This is an absolute disgrace and leaves local authorities in difficulties helping some of the most vulnerable young people to get the best out of their young lives.

Instead of focusing on potholes and offering a sticking plaster to schools the Government should be reversing the cuts and investing in our schools so they can give our children the education they deserve.

In Westminster I am working alongside my Labour colleagues on this issue. Together we are calling out this government and fighting for the funding that our schools so urgently need.

Every child deserves the best opportunities in life, and that begins with a quality education. This is something that any Government should be proud to support.

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