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John Pugh MP writes: Campaigning for your local school

by Steve Beasant on 18 March, 2017

The following article was written by the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Education Spokesperson, John Pugh and published yesterday on the Lib Dem Voice Website.

Its Spring and much is stirring as people look cheerfully ahead at prospects new. Every well informed individual in the schools sector though looks ahead with scarcely disguised pessimism.

There is one very obvious reason for this. School funding is scheduled to nose dive. Heads know it,teachers know it and gradually parents are getting to hear about it. Today we have seen a new report published by the Education Policy Institute underlining the same grim statistics that troubled everyone from the National Union of Teachers to the National Audit Office. https://www.nao.org.uk/report/financial-sustainability-in-schools

The message is stark. Rejigging pupil funding on a national formula within a budget falling in real terms by £3 billion spells gloom for all. Nearly every school they suggest will lose and on average that will cost two teachers to primary schools and six to secondary schools. In many places the impacts will be worse.

Tragically the government is in denial but worse still intent on squandering what spare cash it has on pointless exercises in re-introducing selection and setting up free schools where no real need exists.

We are not talking crocodile tears here; we are talking real terms reduction. Money is not a sufficient condition of educational progress but as the impact of the London Challenge shows, it really helps.

As Liberal Democrats in government we did the right thing in ploughing significant resources into the pupil premium and watched the Conservatives reap what limited political benefit resulted from it.

Now we see a Conservative government taking schools in funding terms back to the 90s and in policy terms back to the 50s.

Let’s not them get away with it. We need to champion the clear public interest and get home to ordinary voters where all this is heading. Our first chance is the County Council elections this May- our opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with our schools if not outside schools.

The data is all there and ALDC with the help of my office have put together an excellent campaign pack. As campaigners we need single-mindedly in a way parents can easily grasp get home the message that poorly funded schools can only mean poor outcomes. Happy campaigning.

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