The Tory government’s school funding scheme could sway everyone’s mind for the upcoming election on the 3rdof May.
Education cuts is on top of a lot of people’s political agenda as the Conservative government has recently installed new schemes to cut the funding to schools and school meals. It has caused distress to both students and parents and it might determine votes in the upcoming elections.
39 year old Amanda Brown has two children residing in a primary school in Essex and recently found out they won’t be receiving free school meals anymore: “I find it absolutely outrageous, the Tories clearly have no idea what they are doing and how it will affect our children’s education”. Brown is just one of the 160,000 children to miss out on free school means due to the Universal Credit changes. Under the government’s new scheme, the income threshold at which Year 3 children of Universal Credit recipients are eligible for free meals will be frozen at £7,400 until 2021/2022. Ultimately, according to the IFS, this means that one in eight of the 1.3 million children who currently qualify under the present system no longer will. Brown went on to say “it’s just getting stupid now, classes are getting bigger and I feel like the government no longer care about our children’s future”. When asked who she will be voting for in the upcoming election, Brown answered “anyone who promises my children the education they deserve”.
The upcoming election of Thursday 3rdof May seems to be a high priority on everyone’s agenda, including the National Union of Teachers who are protesting up and down the country against the current government funding of schools. It’s members are using all different kinds of measures such as handing out flyers and putting up banners at school gates to criticise the Conservative government and what they are doing to schools. The union says that their campaign is essentially about getting candidates for the election to take on funding issues for school.
Official figures published by the Department for Education states that 62% of secondary schools have larger classes last year than two years before. Schools have been cutting their staff to try and balance their budget they are given, which in turn means larger classes and less individual support for students and more strain on the teachers. 15,000 staff have been let go within the past two years, which is approximately a cut back of 5.5 members of staff in every secondary school.
The cut back of teaching assistants will massively affect students with special education needs and for students with disabilities, as on average 1.6 of them will be cut down in every secondary. Furthermore, schools have to decrease the subjects they have on offer and extracurricular activities.
Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has encouraged teachers to relaunch their campaign this month and said: “let’s make sure that the local elections see candidates being quizzed about their attitude to funding this generation’s education properly”.
With the upcoming election vastly approaching, the unions efforts to bring to light the true problems of the governments funding could sway voters minds. More so than council tax, housing and bin collections that politicians seem to be focusing on.