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Cuts, and why you can’t put a price on education

The spectre of further Tory education cuts should make every voter next week – as well as every parent – think carefully about what’s best for our children, warns Mary Ogbogoh

02 June, 2017 — By Mary Ogbogoh

Mary Ogbogoh, a retired teacher from Barnsbury, fears the capital could lose hundreds more teachers due to funding cuts

EDUCATION should be at the heart of the forthcoming general election.

After seven years of Tory government an ever-growing number of schools are in increasing difficulties. Staff and equipment shortages are at an all-time high and teacher morale is at an all-time low.

Teaching assistants are increasingly forced to do jobs for which they are neither trained nor qualified. Democratic control of education by parents, teachers and local authorities is being systematically curtailed by academisation and so-called free schools.

Under the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition government the adult skills budget for non-academic education and training was cut by 40 per cent. Ongoing cuts in further education colleges continue to be drastic.

Students are hammered with tuition fees, which the Tories will now allow to rise with inflation and have hinted they may rise substantially more.

The spending cuts in education the Tories propose will make everything far worse. Over the next three years most schools in England and Wales will see a cut in their funding variously estimated at between £320 and £600 per pupil.

The Evening Standard, which is staunchly supportive of the Conservative Party, has reported that changes to the government’s school funding formula could result in the equivalent of 17,645 teaching posts being lost across London over the next three years and that every school in London will lose out in real terms.

Tory cuts will mean larger class sizes, less subject choice, cuts in after-school activities and nursery schools closing. Contrast that with Labour’s programme of giving every child the best possible education, irrespective of that child’s background or family income, reversing the Tory education cuts, reinvesting in further education, ending tuition fees, rebuilding democracy in education and giving all primary school children free school meals, as pioneered by Islington Council. The Tories say we cannot afford the best possible education for every child, they say Labour’s plans are uncosted and giving free school meals to children is profligate.

I say you can’t put a price on a child’s education.

Moreover, every cut will cost this country dearly in the long-run. If Britain is to compete in the world we need a well-educated workforce. Tory education cuts today will makes us uncompetitive tomorrow.

If every child is to reach his or her full potential they need the best possible education. Tory education cuts deny children the opportunity to achieve that potential.

On election day everyone, and especially every parent, should think very carefully before they vote, and vote for the best possible education for this nation’s children.

• Mary Ogbogoh is a retired teacher living in Barnsbury.


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