LABOUR candidate Helen Russell has backed a national campaign calling for an end to the continued cuts to funding for schools and challenged fellow hopefuls to follow her lead.
Miss Russell signed the ‘Stop the Schools Cuts’ election pledge, where she has committed if elected as the MP to fight for every school to have the adequate funding it needs to deliver a high-quality education for every child.
Recent figures from the National Education Union, show 192 or 85 per cent of schools in Worcestershire, are in crisis. All but one of the 29 first, middle and high schools in Evesham have suffered cuts to their budget from 2015 onwards, according to the figures.
In the large high schools the cumulative loss of funding is £2.1million for De Montfort and £1.2million for Prince Henry’ or cuts per pupil of £487 and £239 respectively, according to the union.
The figures suggest while the sums lost in first schools sound smaller, the impact on the quality of education will have been equally severe.
For example, Bengeworth Academy will have lost £600,000 over five years while for Swan Lane First School the loss is more than £300,000. All the small village schools have been similarly hit, with per pupil cuts of £569 in Offenham and £343 in Harvington.
Miss Russell, who previously worked for the school teachers union, the NASUWT, said: “The figures speak for themselves – some of the hardest hit schools serve the most disadvantaged local areas, where education can make the biggest difference to children’s life chances.
“That is why Labour is committed to reversing these past cuts and investing in our future by properly resourcing education and other public services.
“The Conservative Party claims ‘austerity is over’ and their pledges to ‘focus on investment in schools’ with ‘more funding for every pupil in every school’ is at best misleading and at worst hypocritical.
“They’ve been in power for a decade but only now that there is an election, are they saying that they care about funding our schools. If they are serious about stopping the cuts the local candidates will join me in signing the Stop the Schools Cuts pledge.”