Local parent and Kingston and Surbiton CLP Secretary, Emma Francis, sets out the issues of the Conservative Government's National Funding Formula, and how local residents can support the Labour' motion to Council on 19 April 2017.
Local parents, teachers and school Governors are up in arms about the funding cuts that are about to hit local schools.
The National Audit Office has warned that schools face a funding reduction of 8% in real terms by 2019-2020, caused by a variety of factors including higher contributions to national insurance and teachers’ pensions and - critically - funding per pupil not rising in line with inflation. The Government claims that more money than ever is going into education – but funding per pupil is still decreasing.
Local schools face the added challenges of outer London weighting not reflecting the local cost of living (making recruitment difficult and therefore expensive); historical lower funding than the rest of London; and the introduction of the Government’s so-called ‘Fair Funding Formula’ will result in cuts for many schools. Kingston is estimated to lose £7,368,452 in real terms. That is equivalent to 197 fewer teachers. See www.schoolcuts.org.uk for how individual schools will be affected.
This is in the face of Government plans to spend £2 billion on buying sites for free schools and £320 million on new grammar schools. We think this money could be better spent on maintaining, expanding and improving our existing schools.
So what are we doing about it? We need to make clear to Government that our education system is not up for grabs. The Labour Group on Kingston Council has tabled a motion, calling on all councillors to come together to tell the Government that our schools need to be funded properly. You can read the motion here.
So what can you do about it? Please contact your local Councillors (click here to find out who they are) and ask them to support this motion. It doesn't matter which political party they are from - we need their support! Here's a draft e-mail/letter you could use:
"Dear Councillor [insert Cllr's name]
On 19th April 2017 the Labour Group is submitting a motion to the full Council Meeting on Government-driven school funding changes, which will result in a deterioration of the education resources available to school students in Kingston.
If we are to encourage the Government to revise their policy, it is important that the motion is passed unanimously, with all political parties and councillors united behind this motion.
Please ensure you do attend the Council meeting on 19th April and support the motion.
If the motion is passed, it will send a very powerful message to Theresa May – that a Conservative-run Council has joined the many Tory MPs who are already calling for the 'fair funding' proposals to be revised. So your help in assuring its adoption would be much appreciated!