Share this article share on facebook icon share on twitter icon

school cuts demo 4Parents, teachers and children took to the streets of Palmers Green this morning to protest against planned cuts in government funding to schools throughout London.

school cuts demo 5The 200+ marchers set out from Hazelwood School at 11am and proceeded through the centre of Palmers Green, ending in Broomfield Park, where the protesters held a picnic lunch.

school cuts demo 6All photographs by Richard McKeeverThe march organisers have calculated that unless the government's funding plans are changed, by 2019 government spending on schools in Enfield will have fallen by £554 per pupil and schools will have to get rid of 735 teaching posts.  At Hazelwood the expected reduction would amount to eight teachers.  As a result class sizes will increase, fewer subjects will be taught and extra-curricular activities will be cut back.

Manifesto figures "phoney"

Aware of growing public concern about coming cuts to school funding, the recently published Conservative manifesto seeks to reassure:

"We will increase the overall schools budget by £4bn by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament”.

However, in today's Independent (a newspaper which supported the Conservatives in 2015) the economics editor concludes that "those big numbers – £8bn [for the NHS] and £4bn [for schools] – were phoney, designed to mislead".  The writer, in an article entitled The truth about the Conservative manifesto? No new funding for schools and hospitals and more austerity, bases this on an analysis of manifesto commitments carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.  The IFS calculates that, under the Conservatives, real term public spending on schools per pupil will carry on falling over the next five years, which would appear to conflict with the manifesto pledge to deliver a “world-class education” for Britain’s children.

real english schools spending per pupil

Even though the Conservative manifesto states that "No school will have its budget cut as a result of the new funding formula", the combined effects of increases in pupil numbers and inflation will lead of cuts in real terms, as shown by the graph above.

Missing from the IFS analysis is the manifesto issued by the Green Party, which actually contains the most radical education policies of any party.  On education spending the Greens summarise their policy thus:

"[We promise] to invest £7billion in the education system to fill the funding gap created by years of underinvestment and cuts. Figures show that by 2020, 99% of schools will have been hit by a funding cut – the average primary school will have lost £103,000, and the average secondary school will have lost £470,000. ... We need to make up for the enormous shortfall, the massive neglect, in our education system by plugging the £7billion spending deficit."

Log in to comment