Wandsworth Labour’s speaker on education has blasted two local MPs on their “deafening silence” with regard to the proposed school funding cuts.
Councillor Jeremy Ambache criticised Education Secretary and Putney MP Justine Greening and Battersea MP Jane Ellison for not “taking a stand” to support parents and teachers in the borough.
He said councillors have been visiting many schools around Wandsworth and 99 per cent of people- “Conservative and Labour supporters”-are extremely worried about the future of education.
He said: “They should be standing up for their schools.
“It’s more important than party politics to protect the education of our children.”
In response, Jane Ellison said: “I welcome the fact that the vast majority of children in Battersea go to Good or Outstanding schools.
“As part of my role as a constituency MP I speak regularly with head teachers, teachers, parents and pupils about our education system and about their aspirations for the future.”
Although Justine Greening did not comment, minister for school standards Nick Gibb responded: “School funding is at its highest level on record at more than £40bn in 2016-17 and is set to rise to £42bn in 2019-20 with increasing pupil numbers.
“Our proposed new funding formula schools will help end historical unfairness so schools are funded according to their pupils’ needs, rather than by their postcode, with more than half set to receive a cash boost.
“Of course we recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to help them use their funding in cost effective ways without affecting educational outcomes, including by improving the way they buy goods and services.
“We are consulting schools, governors, local authorities and parents to make sure we get this formula right, so that every pound of the investment we make in education has the greatest impact.”
This comes on the same day a report by an education think-tank projected the average loss per secondary school in the UK would be £300,000, while primaries would lose out on tens of thousands.
The Education Policy Institute (EPI) published the report which warned that growing financial pressures would end in half of primary and secondary schools facing reductions between 6 and 11 per cent by 2019/20.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has produced figures suggesting schools in Wandsworth will have almost £16 million taken from them due to funding cuts while Wandsworth Council has put forward much more modest projections- a proposed reduction of 1.84 which is £2.6m.
To sign the petition calling on the Education Secretary to reverse the cuts go here.
The Government is consulting on school funding until March 22.