MP launches campaign on cuts to education

Ian Lavery MP and Mike McDonald, from the NUT, outside the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington.
Ian Lavery MP and Mike McDonald, from the NUT, outside the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington.
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Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has launched a campaign to oppose ‘the Conservative Government’s cuts to education’.

Mike McDonald, from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), joined the Labour MP for the launch.

Mr Lavery is ‘disgusted’ by the lack of government support for all our public services at present. He said: “With a crisis in the NHS, a meltdown in social-care funding, councils being forced to take extreme measures to protect their residents from vicious cuts to funding and now this fresh attack on education.

“The people of this country deserve investment and the people of Northumberland need to have their representatives do their duty and stand up against these cuts. That’s why I’m launching this campaign.”

As previously reported, according to data collated by the NUT and the Association of Teachers & Lecturers (ATL), Northumberland’s schools face a funding cut worth £13.3million. This will mean £343 less is spent for every pupil at a state school over the year.

The figures relate to the proposed national funding formula and the NUT says that the Government’s ‘refusal to allocate additional money to schools’ means that while some will gain from the changes, many schools will lose substantial amounts.

However, the Department for Education (DfE) disputed the figures, claiming that more than half of England’s schools will receive a cash boost. A spokesman said:“These figures are fundamentally misleading. School funding is at its highest level on record and will be more than £40billion in 2016/17.

“They have completely ignored the fact that as pupil numbers rise so will the amount of money schools receive. To suggest that we are taking money out of the system is simply incorrect.”

Meanwhile, Northumberland’s secondary and high-school headteachers are raising serious concerns about the dire financial situation they are facing.

Almost all of their schools face significant deficits this year and next, with some running into six-figure sums, according to a statement from the Northumberland Association of High School Headteachers (NAHSH).

Con Todd, secretary of NAHSH, said: “We are deeply concerned that the quality of educational provision for Northumberland children will suffer as a consequence.”

Reacting to this, a DfE spokesman said: “We are going to end the historical postcode lottery in school funding and under the proposed national schools funding formula, more than half of England’s schools will receive a cash boost.

“Northumberland’s funding would go up by more than £2million if the proposed new funding formula was implemented. We are consulting on the factors that will make up the formula and we know that it is important that we get this right so that every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact.”