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Tower Hamlets Council endorses campaign against Government’s school cuts

Tower Hamlets Council has formally endorsed the campaign against cuts to education funding. Councillors made the decision at a meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday 19th September, after a motion was put forward by Mayor John Biggs and Councillor Danny Hassell.

Councillors highlighted the fact that school across Tower Hamlets will see their budgets cuts by at least £16m – or £448 per pupil.

Schools across England, which have already seen cuts of £2.8bn since 2015, will see their funding slashed even further as the Government’s new National Funding Formula (NFF) comes into effect. The NFF takes funding out of schools in some of the poorest areas, including Tower Hamlets, and redistributes it to other areas.

The combination of austerity-driven educations cuts and the new NFF will mean that schools in Tower Hamlets will lose at least £16m in the 5 years up to 2020.

A petition has been launched locally to call on the Government to reverse its cuts to school funding: https://www.thlabour.org/schools/

Mayor Biggs, councillors, parents and students will be campaigning against the school cuts at The Big Playground Assembly on Thursday 27th Sept, 4:30pm, at Stepney Green School.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “Our schools are already suffering and there’s no end in sight to this Conservative Government’s cuts. Under the Government’s plans schools in Tower Hamlets will lose at least £16m. This isn’t fair and it will have a hugely damaging impact on education standards in our borough and also on social mobility. It is scandalous that the Government is pulling money out of schools in one of the most deprived areas in the country.”

Cllr Danny Hassell, Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Young People, said: “Schools right across Tower Hamlets have made huge progress in recent years, but the Government’s cuts will severely undermine that. Schools have already had to cut back on staff and it’s only going to get harder for schools to provide even the basics.

“We’re campaigning alongside parents, unions, students, teachers and support staff to call on the Government to think again and give our schools the money they need.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary, National Education Union said: “The National Education Union fully supports Tower Hamlets Council demand to end school cuts. The Government needs to start by replacing the real-terms £2.8 billion has been cut from school budgets since 2015. Head teachers have already had to put severe measures in place to manage their declining budgets. Teachers and support staff are being cut or not replaced if they leave, building repairs are being put on hold, subjects are being dropped from the curriculum – in particular music, dance, drama and art. Class sizes have been increased, meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities is getting harder as funding declines and it’s becoming increasingly common for schools to ask parents for financial help.  These are decisions that no one going into headship ever thought they would have to make.

“Such chronic short-sightedness is wreaking havoc in our schools. This generation of children deserve much better than this bargain basement version of education which removes all support, creativity and joy out of their school experience. It is absolutely incumbent upon Government that schools receive the funding that our children need. Parents will not stand for a situation whereby their children’s education is diminished due to a severe shortfall in funding; they will see through the Government threadbare claim that schools are better funded than ever when they aren’t given the resources to cope with extra pupil or the extra costs the Government puts on them.”