I was glad to see some coverage of last Friday’s protest by more than 2,000 headteachers to Downing Street over the prolonged school funding cuts, staff retention and recruitment across England, with many West Sussex schools being represented in terms of the Worth Less? Campaign.
It was shameful to see Nick Gibb MP (School Standards Minister) is now being investigated for using misleading OECD figures.
He stated that the UK’s spending on education was the third highest in the world.
The Education Policy Institute stated that it failed to consider the rising number of state school pupils over the last eight years, plus changes to Ofsted’s inspection criteria which makes comparison meaningless.
Nick Gibb and the Dept for Education neglected to state their use of spending figures quoted included both university student tuition loans as well as the fees paid by private school pupils, all of which fall outside the DofE’s budget.
This was a crude short-sighted attempt to cover up the real savage school budget cuts across England.
At every stage, the government and DofE refuse to acknowledge an overwhelming independent body of evidence which clearly confirms that the cuts have gone too far.
Meanwhile, our local elected representatives Nick Herbert/Gillian Keegan remain silent on such a fundamental issue affecting children across West Sussex.
Resolution Foundation research also highlights a rapid growth of intergenerational inequality over the past ten years.
Meanwhile, the ideological vanity project of continued privatisation via the academisation of schools continues with free-schools being built at the continued expense of existing state schools’ budgets.
Only this week, the Prime Minister promised austerity was over (if she gets the Brexit she wants).
So, if she means a word of it then the Chancellor must undo the years of damage this Government have caused to our state school system and tackle the education funding crisis in the forthcoming budget.
So, please can we stop getting so fixated about the Sussex Velo and instead focus energy and support for our local headteachers in stopping these short-sighted, negative cuts to all our children’s futures.
DJ Gaylard, Peacock Close, Chichester