Yesterday, members held a debate on the subject of school funding in Westminster Hall. This was triggered by an online petition calling for increased spending for schools on the government website. Although I was able to attend this debate, commitments prevented me from elsewhere to complete the speech I had originally planned to give. However, given the strength of feeling on this subject among teachers and the general public in my constituency, I think it is highlighted my thoughts on this issue in more detail.
We see the consequences of real life school cuts every day. It has become too common for schools to close early Friday afternoon to avoid having to pay for additional teachers for the time needed to plan their course, or for heads of appeal to parents for donations to cover the cost new textbooks and sports equipment for their children. Alarmingly, 35 schools in my riding have reported a lack of funding in 2018/19.
It is clear that our schools are facing very real problems, rather than treating the government has until now preferred to deny their existence. Ministers always misleading claims about the amount of money the government spends schools, for example, using statistics that do not take into account inflation or quoting financing figures that include all the money that is spent on the entire teaching privately and publicly (such as fees for universities and private schools) claim that investment in schools is at record levels. These are blatant lies, and the government was reprimanded not less than four times by the Administration of Statistics in the United Kingdom to repeat.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, he actually had an 8% drop in school funding over the past 8 years. This means that a living child in West Bromwich West is to have an average of £ 321 less spent on their education each year than in 2010. But these overall figures conceal troubling even greater reductions in specific areas . the sixth form education has seen the loss of a quarter of its budget since 2015, and at the same time, there was also a 55% reduction in local public services.
The inability advice to access outside services has a snow ball effect that puts additional pressure on school budgets. When I talk with principals in my riding, a question that returns more than any other is how they feel increasingly unable to help children with special needs and the disabled. Most of the services that these students previously used to support education were stripped to the bone because of severe cuts from the central government. The schools are doing everything they can to help these students themselves- but they are not just the resources to provide specialized type of support that these children need. An institution leader explained that to “support these vulnerable children, we have to consolidate and / or use the school budget to complete the financing and provide the level of support that children need. This has put a strain on the budget and enormous strain on teachers if money is not found “.
This assessment is supported by survey evidence from a survey the National Association of principals (NAHT) found that 94% of schools are more difficult to support children with special needs that two years ago. As public schools are increasingly unable to provide the students with special needs, many parents transferred their children to private schools run instead- often at great financial costs themselves.
This situation can not continue. When people pay their taxes, they have the right to expect quality public services in return, especially for those who are most vulnerable. Instead, we have a situation where a lot of families that are already struggling with the pressures of austerity and low wages are forced to do more so that schools can provide the foundation for their children.
Last year, Theresa May said that “austerity is over. Just look at the state of our schools is wrong show. When in Sandwell, I talk to the head teachers virtually none of them are optimistic that the current environment sustainable reductions will end in the near future. The time has come for the government to stick to its rhetoric, and present a significant investment in our schools- starting with the return of spring later this month.