Thursday, 23 March 2017

Eduction funding crisis

I have just recieved a letter from my son's school. It lays out the situation very well so I incude it in full below.

However, the main thing I have been shouting at the TV recently about this is that tha main issue is NOT the "fairer" funding formula (devil in the detail of course) but the fact that costs have gone up (pay rise, pensions, NI, unreclaimable apprenticeship levy) and these rises are unfunded so cuts will have to be made.

By focussing on the funding formula, the media is letting the government get away with not addresssing the main issue.

Dear Parents/Carers

As you will have heard in the news, schools across the country are facing financial crisis.   We are writing to ask you to support your child’s education by emailing your MP about this.

The government says that education funding has been protected from the austerity cuts and that there is more money being spent than ever before.  However, the reality is that while there is more funding set aside for education, this is because there are far more school aged children nationally.  This hides the fact that the amount schools have to spend on each student has fallen dramatically.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies warns that by 2020 funding per student will have been cut in real terms by 6.5% for schools. 

The funding we receive for each student is being reduced in real terms because the costs schools have to meet have risen. The increased costs are government imposed and beyond schools’ control.  For example, there has been an annual 1% pay rise for teachers each year and employer contributions to staff pensions and national insurance have gone up significantly.   There has been no extra funding to help schools meet these extra costs.

State schools cannot raise their fees to meet the rising costs, as independent schools would do.  Our only option is to make efficiencies.  However, staffing costs are typically around 80% of our total expenditure.  So the only way we can make savings of the size we need to is by cutting jobs and increasing class sizes.
At a time when the curriculum and qualifications are changing radically, schools cannot afford to buy the new textbooks and resources they need.  Many schools have slashed their budgets for repairs and maintenance and this will lead to our school buildings deteriorating.  There will be less money to support students with mental health problems at a time when this is an increasing problem.

If introduced, a proposed new National Funding Formula will make things even worse for Hertfordshire schools, giving them an even smaller share of the national allocation of money for education.

Headteachers are not a militant group but even in affluent areas such as Sussex, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire, we are warning of an education system that will implode.  Across the country Headteachers are united in saying that we cannot run our schools on this level of funding.  Headteachers are usually publicly optimistic; we quietly get on with making the best of whatever situation we are given.  However, none of us can make the cuts we are going to have to make without serious consequences for our students.  Many secondary schools will have to cut £200,000 - £300,000 from the budgets – the equivalent of losing 6 or more teachers.

Now we are raising the alarm and asking you to explain to your MPs how desperate the situation is.  Please support us in trying to protect your children’s education by emailing your MP at the relevant email address below* stating that you are a constituent and giving your address, as this is required in order for the MP to reply.  We suggest you ask them the following question.

‘I am one of your constituents and my address is: 

Why won’t the government give schools the money they need to cover the substantially increased costs that have been imposed on them?’

Yours sincerely

Monday, 6 March 2017

Incredible! Local Tories campaigning on their use of EU funding

I'll just leave this here:

Friday, 7 October 2016

Support on Mumsnet

An interesting thread in the Mumsnet Am I being Unreasonable? forum:

...To Join The Liberal Democrats

Some interesting (and encouraging) responses.

I was at a professional conference yesterday and was talking to someone who offered up that having voted Tory in 2015 (and Labour in the past) he would now vote LibDem as "they were the only ones talking sense".

Straws in the wind...

Thursday, 23 June 2016

What Tim Farron should say on Friday

If Remain win:

Can we please now do Europe properly in this country, it’s been embarrassing for decades!

He should call for UKIP MEPs to step aside or sign a pledge to actually work for British interests instead of seliing us out by not doing their job.

Call on the media and the BBC in particular to actually cover the EU parliament as a matter of course

Call for some kind of EU transparency bill which means that the UK politicians and representatives should explain better what they are doing on our behalf in Europe on a regular basis.

Yes we should make the call for UK voting reform but will anyone listen and I think we need to be punchy if anything we say is heard at all.

If Leave wins:

Meh, don’t care, will be drinking….

Friday, 13 May 2016

Unpublished (unsurprisingly!) letter to the Evening Standard

Your editorial yesterday on the mayoral election said "This paper has done its best to be even-handed".

In this same eve of poll edition, Zac Goldsmith for the Conservatives had a big positive front-page headline (shouting out from your sandwich boards across London), the main article on page 1, most of page 2 and a double-page spread on pages 4 and 5.

Sadiq Khan had a small article on page 6. (The Greens and Womens' Equality Party had later small articles, UKIP was mentioned in a process story and the LibDems had nothing at all).

I humbly suggest your words and actions don't match.


Friday, 2 October 2015

#libdemlegacy Free School Meals still under threat

The government have responded to the petition to keep free school meals (as they have to do within 7 days if it reaches 10,000 signatures - at time of publishing it was at 35,548) in a mealy-mouthed (no pun intended) fashion:

It starts:

"The Government is currently conducting a Spending Review across all its programmes. Therefore, every policy across Whitehall is being reviewed as part of this process and no decisions have yet been taken."

You can see the full response here and please do sign if you haven't already (and pass it on) as if it reaches 100,000 signartures, it is considered for parliamentary debate.

Friday, 8 May 2015

It was the SNP wot won it

Well, the SNP have acheived their twin aims of dominance in Scotland and a Tory government in Westminster (does anyone beleive that wasn't their aim?).

When I got the email from Nick saying he won't deal with the SNP, I was very annoyed as we shouldn't be ruling out anything as Liberals (and also was secretly harbouring a wish for a Lab/Lib minority government with SNP acquiescence). However I thought he must have seen some terrible internal polling to make him have to say that.

When I saw the SNP on the news on eve of poll going on about how they would end austerity and write the budget, I was thinking "shut up, you're not helping"! Of course I'm sure this was deliberate...