Rallying cry on schools funding

Date: Tuesday 2nd May 2017

A RALLYING cry went out to parents in Eden this week, from school leaders who say they are struggling to cope with a combination of financial pressures, including rising costs and government grant reductions.

Parents, union officials, staff and politicians packed a meeting in Penrith on Wednesday to hear about what was described as the biggest education funding crisis in a generation.

Several Eden headteachers took the floor to spell out the impact of drastic budgetary pressures, which have included redundancies, rising class sizes and even talk of a four-day-week in some parts of the country.

While unions and government have clashed frequently in the past over issues including teacher pay and pensions, it is uncommon for school leaders to reach out to parents with their concerns in this way.

At Wednesday’s meeting, which was organised by the Cumbria branch of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), parents were urged to mobilise, to demonstrate and to write letters on the issue. Parents were asked to shine a strong and searching light on the potential damage being caused to the education system, and its effects on the next generation.

As has been shown time and again, public opinion is a powerful weapon and one that can produce extraordinary results when wielded around decision makers.

Whether or not one accepts the bleak picture painted at Wednesday’s meeting and by school leaders nationally, with elections at county and national level on the horizon it can surely do no harm to remind those who seek public office that the education system is something we as a society hold most dear, and will fight to defend.