Call for action on Yorkshire school funding ahead of House of Commons debate

A debate on school funding is to be held in the House of Commons tomorrow
A debate on school funding is to be held in the House of Commons tomorrow

Challenges in education have been used as a "political football" for too long, grassroots campaigners claim, calling on cross-party MPs to take part in a parliamentary debate on school funding tomorrow.

The House of Commons debate, focusing around support for schools and in particular over special educational needs funding, was secured by MP Anne Main with the backing of 43 MPs.

Now a northern alliance of headteachers, parents and governors, including campaigners representing Calderdale schools, is calling on the region's politicians to participate, warning over the impact of funding cuts.

"For too long education has been used as a political football, the damaging impact that the school funding crisis is having is beyond breaking point," the Northern Campaign Against School Cuts (NCASC) has warned.

"We need this Government to trust and invest in our schools, and as a first step MPs of all political parties should attend and participate in the debate in Parliament."

The NCASC, made up of parents, governors and headteachers from across the North, was formed last month to raise awareness of challenges away from political or union affiliation.

Ms McMahon, who is also a member of the Calderdale Against School Cuts (CASC), said shortfalls in funding were impacting upon schools' delivery of education.

"The Government needs to trust schools, they need to trust our headteachers," she said. "There is a real frustration, and some ministers are refusing to accept there is a problem.

"We are short-changing a generation of young people if we don't step up now."

School funding per pupil has fallen by eight per cent in real terms over the past eight years, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Last month, school leaders claimed that funding must be increased by £5.7bn to give every child the education they deserved.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), using its own model to analyse expectations, argued schools require £40.2bn compared to the Government's allocation of £34.5bn.

The Department for Education maintains there is more money going into schools than ever before.

"There are more teachers in our schools than in 2010 and the number of teaching assistants has increased by a fifth between 2011 and 2017," a spokesman said.

“We recognise the budgeting challenges schools face and have introduced a wide range of practical support to help schools and head teachers, to help schools make the most of every pound on non-staff costs.

"We have also provided schools with funding for additional pressures – such as an extra £940m to cover increased pension costs for 2019/20 so state-funded schools and colleges can focus their resources on providing the best education.

"The Secretary of State has made clear that as we approach the next spending review, he will back head teachers to have the resources they need to deliver a world class education.”