School leaders from across the West Midlands have joined together to write a letter to the Chancellor, explaining the crisis in education funding currently affecting schools in the region and the impact it is having.
A delegation of head teachers from the region will deliver the letter to 11 Downing Street at 4pm on Wednesday 3 July, where they will be met by West Midlands MPs. More than 600 school leaders and chairs of governors have so far added their name.
In the letter, they call on the Chancellor to take immediate action to end the crisis and give children in the region the education they deserve. A copy of the letter will also be delivered to Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt.
Schools in the West Midlands have lost more than £140 million from their budgets whilst pupil numbers have risen by almost 50,000 in just 3 years.
The letter says:
“School funding is at breaking point. We have been forced to make heart-breaking cuts to our budgets which are now impacting on standards as well as pupil and staff wellbeing.
“We have made all the efficiencies we can. Spending on curriculum resources, facilities, premises, ICT and other areas have all been slashed. Now we are facing impossible choices about which staff positions we need to cut. Nationwide, 5,400 teachers, 2,800 teaching assistants, 1,400 support staff and 1,200 auxiliary staff have been lost already. These are vital posts that schools need to support children.
“In the West Midlands, schools are looking at drastic solutions to balance budgets including implementation of a four and a half day week. This desperate action has been a last resort for school leaders who are acutely aware of the impact this has on their local communities but are simply left with no other alternative.”
Emily Proffitt, head teacher of Tittensor First School in Stoke-on-Trent, one of the leaders delivering the letter, said:
“Children don't get a vote, so it is our duty to speak up for them. The government is gambling with their futures. Many pupils face a double whammy as austerity bites at home, and cuts to school budgets narrow their opportunities. It is appalling that our parliamentary representatives, voted in by their constituents, are so reluctant listen to our concerns.”
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, said:
“Schools across the West Midlands have faced severe cuts to their budgets since 2010. This has led to increasing class sizes, shortened school weeks and reduced support for children with special educational needs. The Government must act to properly fund schools in the region and give the West Midlands’ kids the start in life they deserve.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“School budgets are at breaking point. Government ministers are now freely admitting that something must change. We need to see immediate relief from the Treasury and a long-term commitment to increased funding for schools and colleges in the Comprehensive Spending Review.”
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