CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Tories’ raid on schools’ budgets will hit inner-London hard

18 May, 2017

• CHILDREN in schools today will be looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive global skills market and a world transformed by technological change.

Yet the Conservatives offer an education policy that looks “back to the future” with proposed grammar schools adding to the chaos already created by free schools.

If you follow the money it’s clear that education is not a priority for this Conservative government. The National Audit Office has confirmed that the government plans to cut per-pupil funding by 8 per cent in real terms by 2020.

Mainstream schools will have to find savings of £3billion by 2019-20 to counteract cumulative cost pressures and stagnant budgets. It’s a raid of school budgets, and because of the Conservative national funding formula, one that is going to hit inner London schools hardest.

Yet there is still some money in the education budget for the few. The 2017 budget announced the allocation of £320million for 140 new free schools which will “enable the creation of new academically selective schools”.

This is in addition to the £50million the government allocated in the 2016 autumn statement for expanding existing grammar schools. All this extra-money for selective education, and that is before the expected announcement of a new generation of grammar schools.

So we have a government which is cutting funding for schools that are attended by the vast majority of pupils, while transferring resources to a small number of schools for the benefit of the select few. It’s a perverse and damaging set of priorities.

The Labour Party wants to take sensible steps to improve our education system. Labour plans to deliver properly funded schools for every pupil in the country. It knows that what the UK needs is an education system which will equip all our children to face a complex world, confident that they can make their contribution to the future.

CHRISTINE GERAGHTY
Kentish Town, NW5

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