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31 March 2017, 10:34
Parents, children, heads and teachers from 30 schools gathered at BHASVIC last night to pledge their support for the city-wide Save Our Schools [SOS] campaign which is demanding the reversal of £11.5 million cuts to education in Brighton & Hove.
200 people filling turned up and over 2000 people viewing live on Facebook.
As local music educator Al Start led children in a rendition of The Police’s Message in a Bottle, parents discussed ideas for peaceful protests and were given lessons on lobbying MPs and using social media to make a noise the Government can’t ignore.
Speakers, including Head Teacher of St Luke’s Primary School Jonathan Cooper, Gemma Haley, parent of a Year 2 child at Westdene Primary School and Alison Ali, parent of Year 3 twins at St Luke’s Primary School, sent a clear message of unified protest about the £3 billion real-term cuts to the UK education system.
“We are demanding the reversal of the £11.5 million cuts to Brighton & Hove schools on the grounds that they will cause irreparable damage to the education of this city’s children and young people,” said Alison Ali, one of the founders of Save Our Schools.
“We’re not prepared to allow our children to become the lost generation,” Ali continued. “We’re not prepared to see their one shot at a good education go the way of the crumbling NHS. We will protest and we will make a stand to Save Our Schools.”
Head teacher of St Luke’s School, Jonathan Cooper, said: “By standing side by side with parents, carers, other heads and teachers from across the city, we’re sending a strong, clear message of unity to the Government.
“We’re already feeling the impact of these cuts to the nation’s education system and tragically so are the school children. Class sizes are stretched to the limit, the curriculum is being squeezed, and future job cuts will mean our most vulnerable children will get even less learning support - all in a climate where the Government is putting an unhealthy level of pressure on teachers and children to conform to a narrow definition of educational attainment.”
The SOS Campaign is asking even more parents, teachers and heads across the city to build on this groundswell of support and take part in peaceful protests to get the message across loud and clear.
Viv Mudie, a parent and governor at St Peter’s Community Primary School, Portslade, says: “The whole country is struggling under the weight of austerity and we are all making sacrifices, but if money can be found for vanity projects like Michael Gove’s free school and Theresa May’s grammar schools, it can be found to secure a decent education for our kids.
“We will be joining forces with other similar campaigns across the country and are committed to making a stand for as long as it takes until the Government gives our children back the education they deserve.”