School funding campaign lights up Parliament ahead of Budget

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Budget plea: Save Our Schools projects its message onto buildings in London ahead of chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget

High-profile buildings in London were lit up last week with messages targeting chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of his budget.

The autumn budget was delivered on Wednesday (November 22) shortly after this edition of SecEd went to press.

The aim of the campaign was to “send a clear message” to the chancellor about the “chronic underfunding” of the country’s schools.

It was carried out by campaign group Save our Schools last Thursday (November 16) and began with the lighting up of the Science Museum and ended with the “Save our Schools” message being projected onto the Houses of Parliament.

Save Our Schools is run by a group of working mothers who first began their campaign work in Brighton and Hove.

The group is being supported by, among others, the National Education Union, a number of MPs, and actor and comedian Steve Coogan, who was at the Science Museum to witness the first projection.

Alison Ali, co-founder of Save Our Schools and mother of two school-aged children, said: “The government tells us there is more money than ever in education but we’re hearing from headteachers about the heartbreaking cuts they are being forced to make: cuts to staff, equipment, and extra-curricular activities including music, arts, sports and support for children with additional needs. These are cuts that will hurt us all.

“Our country faces an uncertain future, our children will shape whether we grasp that future or are overwhelmed by it. Now is not the time to be making cuts to their education. Fund their future and you fund our future.”

Brighton’s MP, Caroline Lucas is among those supporting the group: “I fully support this urgent campaign urging the chancellor to save our schools. Funding cuts are already biting hard and we know that things are set to get even worse. If Britain is to nurture the talent of the next generation then ministers must immediately pledge to stop the cuts to our schools and invest in a world class education system fit for the future.”

Elsewhere, the trade union-led School Cuts campaign was also active in the run-up to the Budget, updating its database of future school funding projections.
According to the latest information from the campaign, 17,942 schools face real-terms cuts in funding per-pupil – the equivalent of nine out of every 10 schools.
The figures use the core schools budget for 2015/16 as a baseline, comparing this with the government’s illustration of the impact of the new National Funding Formula. It also takes into account the Office for Budget Responsibility’s estimate for inflation for the period 2015 to 2020.

The campaign claims that primary schools will lose £54,000 a year by 2020, while secondary schools face a £205,600 loss.


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