Public meeting in South Glos over school funding ‘crisis’

Concerned parents are organising a public meeting in South Gloucestershire on Wednesday 12th December to discuss “disastrous cuts” in school funding.

The meeting will be at 7.30pm at AEK-BOCO Football Club Pavilion in Greenbank Road in Hanham. It is being organised by a group of local parents under the ‘Fair Funding for All Schools South Gloucestershire’ banner.

As we have previously reported, South Glos has always been one of the worst-funded local authorities and is now the lowest funded authority per pupil – 150th out of 150 in the country.

The council has just finished a round of consultation on switching £3m from general school funding to special needs to tackle a deficit. As we reported in Issue 552 (21st November), headteachers across South Glos have called for the “serious under-funding” of schools to be raised with the Secretary of State for Education as a matter of urgency and have warned the council that any of the three options it is considering to plug the black hole are likely to lead some schools to “breaking point.”

South Gloucestershire Council HQ

The organisers of the meeting on the 12th highlight that schools are in “crisis”, with their budgets slashed; class sizes are growing with fewer teachers and resources to support them, support for individual children, especially those with the greatest individual need, is being withdrawn, and the education of children and young people is suffering.

They say: “We must stop these disastrous cuts. If you are a parent, grandparent, school student or a concerned member of the public, please come along. Our aim is to save our schools.”

In our story in Issue 552, The Week In asked the three MPs in South Gloucestershire – Chris Skidmore (Kingswood), Jack Lopresti (Filton & Bradley Stoke) and Luke Hall (Thornbury & Yate) to talk to us about the concerns raised by headteachers.

Mr Skidmore responded, telling us that he has consistently campaigned for fairer school funding and that the historic funding gap is beginning to close.

However, we did not hear – and to date have still not had heard – from Mr Lopresti or Mr Hall.

The current BBC2 series ‘School’ – filmed in the district – is highlighting problems that schools face. It goes out on Tuesdays at 9pm.