27 April 2018

Vassall Labour calls on government to halt damaging school cuts

Vassall Labour's candidates for the 2018 council elections have called on the government to halt damaging planned cuts to the area's education budget that could see schools in Vassall lose tens of thousands of pounds in funding.

Planned changes to the formula that allocates funding to each school in England, were announced last year by the Conservative government, and were projected to cut Lambeth's education resources by £400 per pupil, around £14 million overall by 2019/20. A strong campaign by parents, teachers and Lambeth Labour councillors - as well as the campaign group Fair Funding Lambeth - led to the government suspending some of the planned cuts, but they remain a real threat to local schools.  A petition launched by local Labour councillors has already gathered more than a 1,000 signatures calling for these cuts to be halted.

Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth's lead on schools, said:
After that extensive campaign, replicated across the country and following significant opposition to the Conservatives during the 2017 General Election as a result of these plans, the Conservative government backed down slightly.  However, the extra funding announced in July was money taken from elsewhere in the education budget and it has soon become clear that it won’t allow schools to even standstill when ongoing cost pressures and inflation are taken into account.

Indeed, just this week the schools minister was rebuked by the National Statistics Authority for claiming to Parliament that school funding was rising when they have effectively frozen it at a time when schools’ costs continue to rise. It’s a trick we’ve seen Lambeth Conservatives try to pull as well, as they desperately hope that local people won’t realise that a vote for them is a vote for cuts to their local school.

Parents are right to be concerned – independent research on the School Cuts website estimates that Lambeth schools will lose approximately £14 million by 2019/20 – a cut in funding per pupil on average of over £400. Paxton Primary school in Gipsy Hill is estimated to lose £248,000, Bishop Thomas Grant Secondary school is expected to lose £431,000 and Sunny Hill Primary School (where the campaign meeting against these cuts was held last year) is estimated to lose £258,000.
Vassall Labour candidates for the 2018 council elections, taking place on the 3 May - Paul Gadsby, Annie Gallop and Jacqui Dyer - said:

"We would urge every resident to sign our petition calling for these cuts to be reserved. They could leave our local schools in Vassall, like Christ Church and Reay school, without the funding they need to keep class sizes down, employ enough teachers and make sure children have the right materials to provide a decent start to their education."