South Cumbria Heads Criticise Cuts

6 March 2019, 11:34 | Updated: 6 March 2019, 11:37

Tim Farron in Education funding debate

Headteachers in South Cumbria are breaking ranks and criticising government cuts.

16 of them have written an open letter to parents, saying they've been forced to reduce staff and offer fewer subjects.

It reads: "As a collective group of Head Teachers, we feel it is our duty to provide parents with a clear and accurate view of school funding other than the misleading, over optimistic and often inaccurate picture described by the government. All state schools in England are funded by a central government grant that is administered by the Department for Education. This grant has not kept pace with inflation and schools across the Country are now facing extremely difficult decisions.

"House of Commons Data, published by the government a few weeks ago, indicates that since 2013/14, school funding in Westmorland & Lonsdale has been cut by £2.4m which is equal to £190 per pupil across our region. As Head Teachers, collectively we are saying this is simply not good enough.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron highlighted the letter in a Parliamentary debate on school funding on Monday.

He said: “We’ve got to a breaking point now, a point of immense frustration which has led to headteachers who would normally have dutifully got on with the job, to now speak out.

“The letter from the head teachers to parents is a brave, unprecedented thing to do and they deserve for us to take notice and they deserve the Government to take notice – we must listen.

“Any country’s assets are its people and especially its young people. So, to underfund our schools in this way is not just cruel but it’s also incredibly stupid in undervaluing that which is our greatest asset. Investment in our education is an investment in our country’s future.”