Norfolk headteachers to join 1,000 others to lobby government over funding crisis
PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 06:46 28 September 2018
Norfolk headteachers will join nearly 1,000 others from schools around the country to lobby the government over the school funding crisis.
The 20 headteachers will travel to London today as part of the WorthLess campaign, which works to raise awareness of the real-terms funding cuts to schools.
They will meet at Parliament Square this morning, before walking to Downing Street to deliver a letter to chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond.
In instances where there would have been a negative financial impact on the school as a result of their absence, headteachers have opted to take the day as unpaid leave.
The last few years have seen an increased awareness of the impact of school funding cuts, including the loss of support staff, outdated facilities, more crowded classrooms and difficulty meeting the needs of children with complex needs.
One primary school headteacher in Norfolk said: “Cluster special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) budget cuts meant that we had to make both our parent support advisors redundant, meaning that all the children and families they were supporting now have nowhere to go for help.
“This will mean that we will need to try to do this job but do not have enough money or time to do a good enough job. I believe that this is a major safeguarding issue as vulnerable families who are left unsupported could lead to more serious issues especially relating to neglect.
“By cutting this funding so dramatically the government are not meeting their statutory safeguarding duty and are leaving vulnerable children and families to fend for themselves.”
In the letter to Mr Hammond, the campaigners have written: “Despite promises to the contrary, school budgets remain in crisis. Extraordinarily too, some schools still receive up to 70pc more funding than some others of an identical size elsewhere in the country.
“At this point we must emphasise that no school should have money taken away, but all schools should be funded adequately.
“The knock on effects are wholly unacceptable. Class sizes continue to rise and hard pressed schools are making savage cuts to their curricular and extra-curricular activities. Even more distressingly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils and families are being forced to bear the brunt of the cuts made to our budgets.”