Borough schools' fury at funding dismissal

Andy McGlown
Andy McGlown

Headteachers across the borough have released a letter slamming ministers for refusing to meet leaders over school funding.

Secondary school leaders told parents and carers that politicians’ and civil servants attitudes towards the financial cuts in classrooms is “ill-judged” and “inadequate”.

Heads have now written three times to the secretary of state for education demanding meetings to discuss the “extremely challenging” funding situation and more than 2,000 school leaders last year marched at Westminster.

So far, though, their efforts have been rebuffed, leading to frustration that the Government is not getting to grips with the scale of the issue.

Headteachers who have sent the letter include Andy McGlown at St Peter’s Catholic High School in Orrell and Andrew Dawson at St Mary’s RC High School in Astley.

The letter says: “Despite intense lobbying matters remain extremely challenging.

“Levels of concern are so widespread that we are all working together with a united voice.

“We are dismayed that the secretary of state for education has chosen to ignore our communications and repeated requests to meet.

“We continue to recognise that there is not a ‘bottomless pit’ of money and also acknowledge that many local MPs from across the political spectrum are taking a supportive approach.

“We must make clear, however, that the current response from the Department for Education is inadequate.

“Thousands of headteachers simply do not understand what issues could be seen as more important than the ones we are raising on behalf of schools, children and families.”

The letter says headteachers have been told ministers’ diaries were simply too full to accommodate them.

The decision by school leaders to head to London to protest directly against funding cuts is described as “unprecedented”.

The letter says headteachers want to be involved in national spending reviews to ensure schools are better funded and to express the worries of families about reduced amounts of money for vulnerable young people and for pastoral care.

In it Mr McGlown set out starkly the effect shrinking budgets are having, especially on disadvantaged pupils.

The letter read: “Since 2010 school budgets have been reduced in real terms by eight per cent and by 20 per cent at post-16.

“Class sizes are rising and the curricular offer is being restricted.

“Increasingly, schools are being asked to support with children’s emotional health and wellbeing. Frequently, we do not have adequate resource to meet a growing need.

“Often the most vulnerable students in our schools - those from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with special educational needs or disabilities - are bearing the brunt of cuts.”

Parents and carers are being encouraged to write to local MPs and the Government to ensure the voices of those involved are heard and school leaders have promised to continue campaigning vigorously.