'We're not going away': Haringey parents and students lobby MPs over cuts
PUBLISHED: 12:22 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:22 25 October 2017
"We are not going away," was the warning shot to politicians in Westminster on Tuesday as parents and students from Haringey and Camden protested against school cuts.
Parents are angry that school funding has failed to keep pace with rising pupil numbers and inflation, meaning that 88 per cent of schools across the country will be seeing real-terms budget cuts over the life of the current 2015–20 spending review.
Schools in Haringey have been particularly badly hit, with 73 of its 74 schools facing cuts. The borough faces an overall cut of £12.2m from 2015–20, representing a loss of £369 per pupil.
The half-term lobby was organised by School Cuts, a coalition of unions representing teaching and support staff, and parent campaign groups Fair Funding for All Schools, Rescue Our Schools and Save Our Schools. At least 390 MPs were contacted by parents seeking meetings on the day.
Parents were calling on MPs to ask the chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond to use his November Budget to address the falling levels of per-pupil funding seen since 2015.
As part of a major day of action in Westminster, rallies also took place in the morning and lunchtime in the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster at 1pm, featuring parent campaigners including shadow chancellor John McDonnell and Jo Yurky, a Haringey parent and co-founder of Fair Funding for All Schools campaign.
Charley Allan of the Fair Funding for All Schools – Haringey campaign said: “The voice of parents is finally being listened to.
“Education ministers now accept that we were right to raise our concerns about school funding cuts.
“We need the chancellor to do the same and use this budget to back our schools and invest in our children and the future of our country. This issue is far from over and we are not going away.”
Parents are concerned that the spending squeeze is leading to cuts to teaching and support staff, school resources and specialist support for vulnerable and special needs pupils, a narrowing of the curriculum, the loss of extra-curricular activities and increasing class sizes. There is also increasing concern about calls for cash donations to plug gaps in school budgets.
On the day students told Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West (pictured right) told Catherine that they had larger classes, less resources, and that overworked teachers were stretched beyond breaking point.