Labour chiefs put focus on underfunded schools - The Evesham Observer

Labour chiefs put focus on underfunded schools

Evesham Editorial 19th Oct, 2018   0

LABOUR chiefs in Evesham have called on the Chancellor Phillip Hammond to address the ‘chronic underfunding’ of the county’s schools in the upcoming Budget.

The party made the calls on their regular Saturday street stall following on from demands from countywide campaigners who want more cash for Worcestershire schools after revealing funding per pupil had fallen by eight per cent in the past eight years.

The Observer reported last month on the national Worth Less campaign which recognises a new method for allocating Government money across the country has been a step towards a fairer system but also the gap between Worcestershire schools and those over the border in south Birmingham is still far too wide.

After local headteachers spoke out in support of a demonstration of 2,000 heads in Westminster over school budget cuts, Evesham Labour figures called for action during a day in the heart of the town.

Figures on actual and projected cuts to per-pupil funding for all local schools were shared with shoppers. More than 50 members of the public also signed a national petition to the Education Secretary Damian Hinds, against cuts to funding for pupils with special educational needs.

Party volunteers collected information from parents, grandparents, pupils and school employees about their experience of the impact of recent cuts to school budgets. Those interviewed highlighted how increasing class sizes have reduced the time teachers spend with individual pupils, and how schools are increasingly requesting money for activities and resources that used to be routinely provided.

The street stall hand-outs showed how pupils fall further behind their classmates in all age groups in Worcestershire than in better funded and more effective local authorities.

David Haslam, chair of Evesham Labour Party, said: “The forthcoming budget is an opportunity for the Government to urgently address the chronic underfunding of education and other public services.

“Many people we spoke to are shocked when they see the scale of cuts being made in local schools and were keen to signal their support to stop them, right now.”

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