Education funding cuts in Cheshire East

In January, Labour Councillors complained about the punitive cuts to funding
for schools in Cheshire East. Regrettably, despite a public outcry and
warnings from local headteachers about the impact these cuts will have on
local schools, the Conservatives have not yet backed down.
For many years schools in Cheshire East have been some of the best in the
country. Now that success is threatened by cuts of over a million pounds
across the borough. Only a handful of primary schools have not had their
finances cut. Poynton loses the most at £-165k, followed by Fallibroome
£-156, both in Tory held council seats.

The Conservatives claim that national funding for schools has increased, but
in fact pupil numbers have increased by more than the funding. So the
national funding per pupil has fallen. The badly misnamed new Fair Funding
Formula, does not properly take into account the level of funding that
schools are already getting. So schools in Cheshire East, which are
relatively poorly funded, but still produce good results will lose money and
will become the worst funded in the country. This seems to be a punishment
for success.

Local MP Edward Timpson is the Minister for Children, but has failed to make
any clear statement on the impact the government policy will have on schools
in Crewe. In January, St Thomas More Catholic High School in Crewe was
reported in the Times as the top school in Cheshire East for Pupil Progress.
In March the headteacher of St Thomas More was interviewed on BBC Radio Four
setting out the problems that the cuts would cause!

Following years of Tory mismanagement, the educational system is now
struggling at all levels. The Early Years funding is inadequate, so
providers are in financial difficulties. The Special Education Needs system
is so complex that funding is delayed and children with special needs are
not getting the support they deserve.

Labour Councillors are encouraging parents, school governors and teachers to
respond to the consultation on the new funding formula at
https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-fundin
g-formula2/consultation/intro/
 There have been complaints about the
impenetrability of the questions in the consultation. It is important for
respondents to state their views on the impact the proposals will have on
their school.
There is a useful resource at
http://www.fairfundingforallschools.org/act-now.html

A march against the cuts has been organised by local residents starting at
11am on Saturday 18 March at Sandbach boys school and going to the Cobbles
in Sandbach town centre.

Brian Roberts, Labour Councillor for Crewe West said, “Before the latest
cuts Cheshire East was 145th, in a league of 150 areas nationally. Due to
the decisions of this Tory Government, Cheshire East is now being relegated
to the Rock Bottom of 150th.  All our children deserve better.
The silence from the Tory voices of Cheshire East is stunning.”

Brian’s fellow councillor for Crewe West, Jill Rhodes, added, “The effect of
these cuts on primary schools is particularly pronounced as their only real
option is to remove classroom support.  Each class has to have a teacher, so
the funding cuts will mean less help for those pupils who need extra
support. That will have knock on effects when those pupils get to secondary
school.”

Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East said, " In his
Budget speech the Chancellor said, ‘Choice is the key to excellence in
education’. I disagree! I think that good teachers and decent funding is the
key to excellence in education. The Chancellor announced an extension to
free transport for those at selective schools. This will jar with many
parents in Cheshire East who have just had their free school transport
withdrawn and are facing major funding cuts to their local school. The
Conservatives seem determined to pursue their ideological objective of
promoting grammar schools at the expense of all other schools."


Irene Faseyi, Labour Councillor for Crewe Central, said, “It's a disgrace
that the Tory government have enough money for new grammar schools at the
expense of struggling schools. One would have thought that the government
would plough some funding into existing schools rather than building " white
elephant " ones to further widen the divide between the haves and have nots
of this country.”


Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, said, “Yes, the Prime
Minister boasted a few days ago that £320 million was to be made available
for new free or grammar schools.  Since the Chancellor's budget it has
emerged that the true extra funding for free or grammar schools is over
three times that amount at nearly £1 billion.  Even - or perhaps especially
- before the budget the government could not bring itself to admit just how
much money it was really siphoning off from state education. Such unashamed
deceit!  And this is all at the expense of existing schools.
“I wonder how the government plans to punish us plebeians next?

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