News | Published May 09 2019

Paul Blomfield MP: "Cry for help" from schools

Paul Blomfield, along with schools from his constituency, are campaigning for the government to remedy the "8% cuts in real terms to school budgets" since 2010.

Over the last year, there has been much nationwide campaigning on this issue.

Recently, the National Association of Head Teachers at their annual conference backed a motion which prompted unions to consider ways of tackling the funding crisis.

Last year, there was a protest of headteachers who marched through Whitehall, and more recently there was a petition with over 100,000 signatures to end cuts to school budgets.

The campaigning organisation, School Cuts, claims that “after nearly ten years of underfunding, our schools are at crisis point.”

The petition – which prompted parliamentary debate – had as its preamble:

“Schools are having to make difficult choices on how to spend their limited funding as their income has not kept pace with the rise in costs since 2010.“

"All schools are working very hard to 'make ends meet' but this is becoming increasingly difficult and verging on almost impossible."

School’s minister Nick Gibb was compelled to respond to these demands in March of this year:

“Core funding for schools and high needs will rise from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £43.5 billion in 2019-20”

In March, Labour MP Paul Blomfield, along with 14 headteachers from Sheffield, met Nick Gibb to discuss the issue.

He also sent a petition to Downing Street from 171 of the headteachers' colleagues which protested cuts in Sheffield's schools.

Yesterday, in prime minister’s questions, he again urged the prime minister to address this issue, saying that changes in the national funding formula don’t address the crisis brought about by an eight per cent cut in real terms since 2010 – something he says has left schools at “tipping point”

The prime minister responded that, in his constituency, “several thousand” more children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools, adding that more money is going to more schools.

After PMQs, we asked Blomfield what he made of Theresa May’s response.

We were told: “When I brought them to meet the Schools Minister, our headteachers made a powerful case on the crisis they’re facing after nine years of cuts have reduced their budgets by 8 per cent.

"It’s meant fewer teachers, specialist assistants and support staff.

"It’s narrowed subject choice and limited the support to those students who need it most. 

"Their visit was a cry for help for Sheffield schools, which the Prime Minister ignored today. 

"Our children only get one chance at education and we can’t let them down so I will keeping the case for a fair funding settlement.”

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Authored by

Thomas Wilson
Political Editor
May 09 2019

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