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Hackney parents protest funding cuts

Hackney parents and children join nationwide mass protest against school funding cuts

Posted by Hannah Vickers | June 01, 2017 | People, policy, politics

Hundreds of children, parents and teachers united in seven of Hackney's parks to raise awareness of funding cuts to their schools. Children from more than 25 primary and secondary schools led the protest with homemade banners, placards and protest songs.

Local actors led marches and politicians spoke to crowds, including Meg Hillier, Labour candidate for Hackney South & Shoreditch; Dave Raval, Liberal Democrat candidate for Hackney South & Shoreditch; Diane Abbott, Labour candidate for Hackney North & Stoke Newington and Alistair Binney-Lubbock, Green party candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney; Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor for Hackney; Jon Burke, Hackney Labour Cllr. Exec Member for Energy, Sustainability, & Community Services and Jamie Duff, from Hackney NUT also spoke at the protest.

The lack of real-terms protection of per pupil funding, combined with sharp increases in unfunded costs, have left schools facing a £3bn shortfall by 2020

Jon Burke said of the Big Assembly “Today's event was a fantastic show of solidarity from Hackney's parents, showing that our community will stand together to resist Government attacks on the life chances of our children. Hackney's schools have been transformed in recent years, providing a comprehensive model that ensures all of the borough's children can reach their full potential.

Hackney’s “Big Assembly” is part of a national action sponsored by the parent-led Fair Funding For All Schools campaign that is highlighting the issue of school funding cuts to all parties and candidates campaigning for election across the country. The Fair Funding for All Schools campaign is calling on all parties and candidates in the 2017 General Election to commit to addressing the massive funding gap facing schools across England.

The National Audit Office, Institute for Fiscal Studies and Cross-Party MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have all drawn attention to the fact that the lack of real-terms protection of per pupil funding, combined with sharp increases in unfunded costs, have left schools facing a £3bn shortfall by 2020. Under existing government spending plans, schools are being required to make cuts of 8% to balance their books. Schools are already suffering from budgetary pressures. Parents are reporting the loss of staff, subject choices, specialist provision and increasing demands for parental contributions to plug gaps in school budgets.

Headteachers point out that historic funding settlements have enabled dramatic transformation in pupil outcomes in Hackney. Rather than punish London schools for their successes, they urge the future government to raise funding across the board so schools can replicate them.

The campaigners say they are delighted that all parties have listened to them and now accept the need for more school funding. They are calling for per-pupil funding to be protected in real terms over the lifetime of the next parliament and for no school to lose funding as a direct result of the new National Funding Formula. 

Our diverse community has united on this issue. We demand schools are given the resources they need to carry on enriching our children's lives - Emma Griffin, parent of three children at Gayhurst Community School and a Fair Funding For All Schools campaigner

Emma Griffin, parent of three children at Gayhurst Community School and a Fair Funding For All Schools campaigner said: “These education cuts are threatening the future of Hackney's children. But, it was great to see them making their voice heard today and leading the protest. Our diverse community has united on this issue. We demand schools are given the resources they need to carry on enriching our children's lives.'

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