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Where should extra resources go in our schools?

December 11, 2018 7:03 PM
By Marian Bowles, Chasey Crawford Usher and other Sevenoaks Teachers

Bird 2018

88% of schools have endured real terms budget cuts since 2015. The average primary school is £52,546 worse off each year; secondary schools on average £178,321. Schools ask for parental contributions, the school week is shorter and teachers face redundancies as Headteachers tackle budget shortfalls.

Our students are among the most tested and least funded in the developed world, which has pushed the UK down global rankings. Students face fewer youth services, and lost opportunities due to Brexit which most reject.

The Budget to "end austerity" gave little to education. We risk creating a generation that is the least socially mobile and least well equipped to deal with the challenges of the modern globalised world, while we isolate ourselves from our biggest trading partners.

Investing in education and skills is crucial to tackling long term poverty. All age groups from pre-school to sixth form need urgent funding help.

Liberal Democrats in government introduced Pupil Premium funding for schools to support poorer students. To target the vital pre-school age group we should triple the early years pupil premium, giving the most disadvantaged the best possible start.

We would offer schools an extra £7.5 billion to combat current budget shortfalls, so students can enjoy a full week in properly resourced classrooms. Heads should decide priorities; individualised support for special educational needs students in mainstream schools, trained counsellors to tackle mental health problems, and restoring creative curriculum subjects are often top of their lists .

We back Lifelong Learning Entitlements, access for all to high quality training throughout life.

Education has struggled under the Conservatives, and Labour cannot fund its fantasy budgets. The Liberal Democrat approach - proper funding and letting heads and teachers set priorities in schools - is the best solution.