Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party
“With less and less money to run schools, we are suffering enormously. Cuts have been made but we can’t go any further.
“That would directly impact the educational standards we are trying to achieve,” explained Southampton headteacher and National Union of Teachers (NUT – now part of the National Education Union) member Liz Filer.
‘Southampton Fair Funding for All Schools’ brought teachers, students, TAs, heads and parents onto the streets on 14 October to protest against the growing crisis in Southampton schools. The action took place ahead of the national lobby of MPs at Westminster on 24 October, which the campaign has built for.
The schools crisis faces an added twist with further cuts under the new Tory funding formula. The Westminster lobby should rally teachers and parents to back a national schools strike to stop the cuts.
Speaking for Southampton NUT, Penny Burnett emphasised the crisis: “We have classes of 37 children locally!”
Ian Taylor from the National Association of Head Teachers warned against the government propaganda claiming increased funding. “That is because there are more children in the system than ever before, but there is not enough money.”
Sue Atkins, speaking for Southampton Socialist Party, said: “My granddaughter is four. Five years is a long time to wait for a general election. I’m not prepared to see her education trashed.
“If the Tories can find £1 billion for a bribe to the DUP, they can find the money for our schools.
“We are told the rich will up sticks and leave if we increase taxes and close tax loopholes. If you want to leave, that’s fine by me. But you won’t take your assets with you – we will keep them to serve the interests of the majority, not the few.
“We need to stand together in solidarity. That must include Labour councillors using their full powers, including licensed school budget deficits, to protect schools and education.
“If the council gave a lead to protect school budgets it would transform the situation and give confidence to other schools in the city who are being bullied to ‘balance’ their budgets.
“The council has sent a letter to the education secretary, but that needs to be backed up with action. This is a weak and divided government and we could push them back on this issue, by linking up with other councils and schools all over the country.
“We can win if we draw a line in the sand and say ‘so far and no further’ and fight for our children’s education.”
- National Education Union lobby of parliament: 24 October from 9.30am at Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster SW1P 3DW