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BRITAIN’S next prime minister must ensure schools “at financial breaking point” are given proper funding, Labour has told parents and teachers.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Together for Education event in Westminster on Saturday that continuing an economic policy of austerity will lead to greater inequality, underfunding and “more and more underachievement,” especially for those from the poorest backgrounds or with special needs.
“It’s the involvement of the entire community in supporting our schools and our teachers that can make sure we can put the pressure on this government, in the Autumn Spending Statement, to refund the schools properly — so that we don’t go into next year with yet another cut in spending per head within our schools,” he said.
Mr Corbyn was joined by councillors, trade unionists and London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the event. The mayor said education funding must improve under the next Tory leader.
“Schools are at financial breaking point, teachers have been systematically undervalued, we have a great crisis in recruitment and retention, and teachers are having to spend their own money to ensure that children have the materials they need,” Mr Khan said.
He called former education secretary Michael Gove’s elimination from the Conservative leadership contest “good news,” which was met with loud applause.
Mr Khan said: “My message to the next prime minister today is simple: enough is enough. This cannot continue. It’s time to give our education system and the next generation the investment they deserve.”
Despite an increase of half a million pupils, school cuts have risen by 7.5 per cent in the last four years, National Education Union’s (NEU) data analyst Andrew Baisley said.
He told the event that there was a £5.6 billion hole in education funding which is set to increase unless the government changes its spending policy.
NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Promises to address school funding from Conservative Party leadership contestants, and rumours that the Prime Minister herself wants to give schools more money, demonstrates the cut-through power of this campaign despite the government, until this point, consistently denying there is a problem.”
The Department for Education claims that there is more money going into schools “than ever before” and that the government made funding fairer across the country.
However Mr Baisley pointed out that 91 per cent of schools are suffering a per-pupil funding cut.
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