The disastrous Tory record on education

Today the Tories have attempted a U-turn on their damaging school funding formula, following pressure from the Labour Party and the teaching profession. I welcome any extra money for our cash strapped schools, but I am concerned at the lack of detail in today’s announcement.

Last week I was approached by a local primary school teacher who set out the following on what the Tory education cuts would mean in her school. We simply can not stand by and let this happen. I will keep the pressure on the government to ensure that all of our children receive the education that they deserve:

“I rarely discuss politics, especially online and to be perfectly honest, my Facebook tends to be a string of memes and embarrassing anecdotes! You won’t ever find me on my soap box when it comes to government policy and I would struggle to talk about party manifestos. I rarely discussed the election and, aside from the fact that Theresa May enjoys a frolic in a wheat field, I couldn’t really tell you much about what our current Prime Minister stands for…

However, being a teacher in school such as mine, I’ve found myself worrying more and more about some of the children and their futures.

Schools with the most disadvantaged pupils will likely be hit the hardest by the intended budget cuts, potentially losing out on hundreds of pounds per child.

This could be a child whose parents literally can’t help them with their homework, spellings or reading, who relies on interventions from support staff.

This could be a child who has such low self-esteem that even the tiniest bit of support and success would have a monumental impact, even if that’s just getting a certificate from an extra curricular activity.

This could be a child who has a special educational need such as dyslexia, ADHD or an autistic spectrum disorder and needs specific (but not always expensive) resources to reach their potential. 

Or worse, this could be a child for whom school is their only sanctuary. The only place they feel safe and relaxed. The only place they get to actually be a child and enjoy themselves. The only place they get the care, love and attention that all children desperately need and deserve.

Children who are neglected. Children who are abused. Children who have had the very worst start to life a person could possibly have. Children who are amazing just for the simple fact they actually made it to school. Children who on an average day have been through more before their breakfast, than most of us will likely ever go through.

Children whose futures, or even lives, may literally depend on the dedicated safeguarding and pastoral care teams schools are struggling to fund. Children whose mental health is hanging in the balance even with the support they are receiving from bought in counsellors and resources.

I’m not saying I have all the answers or even all the facts, but I am positive that if cuts to budgets and funding continue in the manner proposed, the gap between the most disadvantaged children will only widen further. These children will get left behind.

Children who are capable and can learn and can make progress. Currently, poverty at home is the biggest statistical indicator of how likely a child is to succeed. That’s disgusting. Where you started in life should not dictate where you’re going.”

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