Brent schools unite over 'sickening' funding cuts
PUBLISHED: 11:54 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:12 22 March 2017
Parents from six Brent schools joined together to protest against proposed funding cuts which would see hundreds of thousands of pounds wiped off headteacher's budgets.
Scores of pupils waving hand-made signs and banners met at Tiverton Playing Field in Queen’s Park on Saturday to demonstrate against the government’s revised national funding formula which would see schools in London and other cities lose out to rural and suburban areas.
Parents from Leopold, Princess Frederica, Malorees, Salusbury, and Kenmont primaries and Queen’s Park Community School heard how it would have a dramatic impact on the quality of children’s education.
Kenmont Headteacher Julie Howarth said she had received her latest budget on Friday which already had a £30,000 decrease.
“Every year the costs are going up,” she said. “We are going to lose six teachers from our school. Our problem is underfunding not fair funding of schools. These cuts divide schools to work against each other, but we need to stick together, to fight together for all our schools.”
Jean Roberts of Brent National Union of Teachers told protesters the formula didn’t take account of the “vast increase in pupil numbers” in recent years or that “a lot of school buildings need a lot of money spent on them.” She added: “The Jews Free School faces 37 redundancies. It’s not party political it’s too important, it’s about the future of the country.” In a message Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq urged parents to fight this “crucial battle”.
Another demonstration was held on Tuesday at Leopold School in Hawkshead Road, Harlesden which faces a £500,000 cut from 2020 – the equivalent of £650 per pupil or 14 teachers.
Rachel Crookes chair of Leopold PTFA said: “We need to do as much as we can to stop these cuts having a damaging effect on our children’s education. Our school is set to lose nearly half a million pounds a year. How can the Government justify such extreme and unnecessary cuts which will do nothing but harm to our children, schools and local communities. We’re all determined to fight this.”
Brent Central MP Dawn Butler called the estimated budget cut: “sickening”. “I will not stand idly by as these cuts will profoundly impact on the lives of our children.”